Biden picks for senior White House staff include loyalists, rising Democratic stars


Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is greeted by US Congressman Cedric Richmond, D-LA as he arrives in Columbus, Georgia, on October 27, 2020.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday announced his first slate of senior White House staff, choosing a mix of longtime Biden loyalists and rising Democratic stars.

The overall makeup of the top staff is notable for its lack of well-known progressives, suggesting that Biden intends to oversee a more cautious, traditional West Wing than some in the Democratic Party might have hoped.

Veteran Biden advisor Mike Donilon was named senior advisor to the president. Donilon served as Biden’s chief strategist during the campaign.

Jen O’Malley Dillon, who managed Biden’s victorious campaign, will serve as White House deputy chief of staff.

Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond will be senior advisor to the president and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. Richmond was a trusted advisor and highly visible Biden surrogate during the campaign. Insiders have described his role as similar to that of former White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, who often served as a sounding board for President Barack Obama.

Former Biden campaign chairman Steve Ricchetti will be senior counselor to the president, the Biden team announced. Ricchetti is a career political strategist whose ties to Biden go back decades. His work as a lobbyist in recent years raised eyebrows among progressives, who pressured Biden not to name Ricchetti White House chief of staff. Last week, Biden announced that longtime aide Ron Klain would serve as chief of staff.

Dana Remus, White House deputy counsel for ethics during the Obama administration, was named counsel to the president. Remus worked at the Obama Foundation and served as general counsel to the Biden campaign.

Annie Tomasini, a longtime member of Biden’s inner circle and his traveling chief of staff on the campaign, will serve as director of Oval Office Operations. The particulars of the role have often shifted based on who is in office at any given time, but what remains the same is that it’s a powerful gatekeeper position with influence over the president’s daily activities.

First lady Jill Biden’s chief of staff will be Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon, a former ambassador to Uruguay during the Obama administration and a partner at Winston & Strawn. Jill Biden’s longtime aide Anthony Bernal will become her senior advisor.

This is a developing news story, please check back for updates.



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