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Biden may announce Cabinet picks next week

Biden may announce Cabinet picks next week
Joe Biden
Washington, Nov 21 (AP) | Publish Date: 11/21/2020 12:14:33 PM IST

President-elect Joe Biden is moving quickly to fill out his administration and could name top leaders for his Cabinet as early as next week.

Biden told reporters on Thursday that he’s already decided on who will lead the Treasury Department. That pick, along with his nominee for secretary of state, may be announced before Thanksgiving, according to people close to the transition who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The Cabinet announcements could be released in tranches, with groups of nominees focused on a specific top area, like the economy, national security or public health, being announced at once.

SECRETARY OF STATE

Chris Coons - The Democratic U.S. senator from Delaware, Biden’s home state, is a close Biden friend and adviser who is a prominent member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and would presumably have an easy path to confirmation from his Senate colleagues.

Susan Rice - The former national security adviser, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and assistant secretary of state was on Biden’s short list as a possible running mate. Her deep experience makes her a logical choice, but she could face Republican opposition over her involvement in the controversy over the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

William Burns - The longtime career foreign service officer is a former deputy secretary of state, ambassador to Russia and lead negotiator in the secret talks that eventually paved the way to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. He is now president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

DEFENSE SECRETARY

Michele Flournoy - She is the consensus front-runner for the job, which would make her the first woman to lead the Pentagon. She served as a top Defense Department official in the Bill Clinton and Barack Obama administrations, advised Biden’s campaign on defense issues and co-founded a consulting firm with Antony Blinken, one of Biden’s top advisers.

Tammy Duckworth - The U.S. senator from Illinois, who was considered as a possible Biden running mate, lost both her legs when her helicopter came under fire while she was an Army officer in Iraq in 2004. She was an assistant secretary of veterans affairs under Obama.

Biden turns 78, will be oldest US president

President-elect Joe Biden turned 78 on Friday. In two months, he’ll take the reins of a politically fractured nation facing the worst public health crisis in a century, high unemployment and a reckoning on racial injustice. As he wrestles with those issues, Biden will be attempting to accomplish another feat: demonstrating to Americans that age is but a number and he’s up to the job. Biden will be sworn in as the oldest president in the nation’s history, displacing Ronald Reagan, who left the White House in 1989 when he was 77 years and 349 days old.

The president-elect spent his birthday in Delaware at work on the government transition, including a meeting with Congress’ top two Democrats: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer. During the closed-door portion of the meeting, Pelosi presented Biden with a white orchid, one of her signature flowers, an aide said. The age and health of both Biden and President Donald Trump — less than four years Biden’s junior — loomed throughout a race that was decided by a younger and more diverse electorate and at a moment when the nation is facing no shortage of issues of consequence.

Out of the gate, Biden will be keen to demonstrate he’s got the vigor to serve.

“It’s crucial that he and his staff put himself in the position early in his presidency where he can express what he wants with a crispness that’s not always been his strength,” said Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University who has advised legislators from both parties. “He has got to build up credibility with the American people that he’s physically and mentally up to the job.”

Throughout the campaign, Trump, 74, didn’t miss a chance to highlight Biden’s gaffes and argue that the Democrat lacked the mental acuity to lead the nation. Both critics and some backers of Biden worried that he was sending the wrong message about his stamina by keeping a relatively light public schedule while Trump barnstormed battleground states. Biden attributed his light schedule to being cautious during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some of Biden’s rivals in the Democratic primary also made a case on age -- while skipping Trump’s vitriol -- by raising the question of whether someone of Biden’s and Trump’s generation was the right person to lead a nation dealing with issues like climate change and racial inequality.

Brian Ott, a Missouri State University communications professor who studies presidential rhetoric, said Biden was hardly impressive as a campaigner but has proved far more effective with his public remarks since Election Day.


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