Throughout his 2020 US presidential campaign, president-elect Joe Biden said on multiple occasions that if he won he would construct an administration that “is going to look like America”.
The latest diversity data released by outlets such as CNN demonstrate that Biden has kept his promise so far with people of colour making up 46 per cent of his transition staff and 41 per cent of his senior staff.
Women make up 52 per cent of all of Biden’s staff and 53 per cent of his senior staff.
43 percent of the transition team’s advisory board are culturally diverse, representing a fair cross-section of the country’s more than 329 million citizens. Even more impressive is Biden’s majority women team — the total number of staff consist of 53 percent women. His senior staff members are 58 percent women.
The most prominent face on Biden’s team is incoming vice president Kamala Harris, who is the first African American and South Asian American to hold the position.
Harris became the first black female attorney-general of California in January 2011 and went on to become the first woman of South Asian heritage elected to the US Senate.
In December last year, Biden told NPR’s Morning host Rachel Martin that he had “the most diverse staff of anybody running.”
“I’ve always done that,” he said. “This is who I, the country has to look like, the administration should look like the American public.”
In June this year, he told Amna Nawaz, a correspondent for PBS NewsHour and one of the moderators of a virtual presidential town hall event hosted by Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote, that his “administration is going to look like America, not just my staff, the administration from the vice president straight down through Cabinet members to major players within the White House, and the court.”
“It’s going to be a reflection of who we are as a nation,” he said.
During the event, which was co-hosted by California Representative and chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Judy Chu, and NBC News Investigative & Consumer Correspondent Vicky Nguyen, Biden addressed key topics related to health care, discrimination, racism and immigration.
In late June, Biden’s campaign staff released statistics on the diversity of his running team; broadcasting a cohort that was 35 percent culturally diverse.
His senior advisers included Karine Jean-Pierre, a young French-born Haitian-American political campaign organiser and commentator and Julie Chavez Rodriguez, the granddaughter of American labor leader Cesar Chavez and American labor activist Helen Fabela Chávez.
During his campaign, Biden’s chief financial officer was Saloni Multani, a Harvard and Stanford graduate of South East Asian descent, and his senior adviser for financial operations was Deanna Nesburg – the former treasurer for Kamala Harris‘s presidential campaign.
It’s been more than a week since Biden was declared the winner by major news organisations based on state-by-state vote counts. Despite this, the General Services Administration is still to recognise him as the next president, halting his team’s ability to begin a smooth transition from one administration to the next.
Photo: ANDREW HARNIK / ASSOCIATED PRESS