President-Elect Joseph R. Biden continues to break ground with his White House team. On Sunday, November 29, Biden announced that he would be installing an all-women senior communications team at the White House. Biden has repeatedly stated he would build out a diverse White House team along with a more traditional approach to the press, news, and media related situation surrounding the White House.
Who’s On The Team?
Campaign communications director for Biden, Kate Bedingfield, will serve as the new White House Communications Director. Jen Psaki, who has served as a longtime Democratic spokeswoman, will be the new press secretary. Pili Tobar, former communications director for coalitions on the Biden campaign will hold the position of deputy White House communications director.
Ashley Etienne, former communications director for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will hold the position of communications director for the VP. Finally, Elizabeth Alexander, former press secretary for Biden as VP and communications director for him when he was in the Senate, will function as the communications director for First Lady, Jill Biden.
Four of the seven top roles on the White House communications team will be held by Women of Color.
How Will Things Change For The Press?
President Trump has, in his four years serving, upended the communication process between the White House and the press. While Trump himself held many press briefings, his staff held few, often filled with inaccuracies and false statements. Trump also bypassed the White House press corps on the regular and functioned as his own press secretary on many occasions.
Biden, however, plans to change this kind of communication. In a statement about the White House communications team, Biden said, “Communicating directly and truthfully to the American people is one of the most important duties of a President, and this team will be entrusted with the tremendous responsibility of connecting the American people to the White House. I am proud to announce today the first senior White House communications team comprised entirely of women.”
He added, “These qualified, experienced communicators bring diverse perspectives to their work and a shared commitment to building this country back better.”
Biden received some criticism for “not being accessible to reporters” when his campaign went virtual due to the pandemic this year. However, toward the end of the campaign, Biden has been more accessible, answering questions more frequently. Since the election, he and members of his transition team have held weekly briefings, rectifying this concern for “inaccessibility.”