Thursday, November 26

Biden prepares to make the first announcements of his cabinet


Wilmington, Delawe (CNN) — President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden, has accelerated the selection of your cabinet and plans to make the first of several key announcements next week, an official said. This as part of a concerted effort to show that it is moving forward despite increasingly blatant attempts by President Donald Trump to sabotage the election outcome.

On Thursday, Biden said he had made his choice for the post of Treasury secretary, but officials said he also made a decision, or is about to do so, on other critical cabinet positions. Some of those positions are expected to be announced before Thanksgiving. Monday and Tuesday are considered tentative days for the first introductions by members of Biden’s cabinet, one official said, with others to come later.

Lael Brainard, a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, is seen as the top contender to lead the Treasury Department. If selected, she would become the first woman to serve as Treasury Secretary, a move that would help Biden begin to fulfill his promise to appoint a diverse cabinet. But three officials close to Biden’s transition declined to say whether Brainard was the final option. They said it’s a decision the president-elect would likely reveal right after Thanksgiving.

But Biden could announce his election for secretary of state next week, the officials said, along with another cabinet position.

Biden is well known for his deliberate and often slow decision-making, particularly on personnel matters. However, the timeline for some cabinet decisions is speeding up due to the desire to move quickly to form a new government in the wake of Trump’s intransigence on the tone of the election.

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Biden works in his new cabinet

Biden had spoken with his advisers about taking a much slower approach, including waiting for the outcome of the Georgia Senate runoff elections that will determine control of the Senate, but Trump’s actions have motivated Biden to act without delay.

“There is a desire to convey that we are governing, operating and functioning,” said an official close to the transition, explaining the urgency facing Biden’s team in the wake of Trump’s antics.

It’s only been a week since Ron Klain was named incoming White House secretary general, but that leap of decision started a movement within Biden’s team. And Jeff Zients, co-president of transition, has been working for months on a variety of options for Biden to make the most important personnel decisions.

Biden has been interviewing potential Cabinet members virtually, with one or two exceptions, officials said, as serious steps are being taken to safeguard their health in light of rising coronavirus cases.

In an interview in The Situation Room On CNN Thursday night, Klain said more announcements would be made from White House staff on Friday. Those positions are expected to be for the Office of Legislative Affairs and the Office of Presidential Personnel, CNN learned, in addition to the White House social secretary.

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Other Biden Appointments to His Cabinet

Carlos Elizondo is expected to be named White House social secretary on Friday, a transition official told CNN.

Elizondo worked in the Obama administration as social secretary to then-Vice President Biden and his wife. He will be only the second man to serve as White House social secretary and will inherit a unique dynamic as the White House adapts its activities to the era of the new coronavirus.

Elizondo is the third Latino to be named to the east wing. Earlier in the week, Anthony Bernal was named Jill Biden’s senior advisor, and Julissa Reynosa Pantaleon was named her general secretary.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a Democrat from Illinois, is under consideration to lead the Department of Defense, officials said, a decision that would be historic. Duckworth is not only a decorated veteran, but she would also be the first woman to serve as Secretary of Defense.

Michèle Flournoy, who held key defense positions in the Clinton and Obama administrations, is also a leading candidate for the position.

“This is all accelerating faster than we think,” said one official, noting that Biden was projected as the winner less than two weeks ago.

– CNN’s Arlette Saenz and Caroline Kelly contributed to this report.

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