In a past life, I worked in non-profit communications, where I was well aware that my job was not to craft policy, but to largely be a mouthpiece for the actual people with power. So I didn’t exactly greet the news that Joe Biden’s communications staff will be made of all women as some sort of hugely important moment. These roles, after all, are largely as messengers, which is not to discount its importance, but to point out that oftentimes your job is to make a shit sandwich look pretty.
But that didn’t stop others from lauding the announcement as a historic first and a win for women, which it is if representational politics and shallow nods to diversity are some of your main concerns. As the Washington Post noted, this will be “the first time all of the top aides tasked with speaking on behalf of an administration and shaping its message will be female.”
They are, via Politico:
Kate Bedingfield, who served as Biden’s communications director while he was vice president and on his presidential campaign, will be the White House communications director. And Jen Psaki, who served as White House communications director for the last two years of President Barack Obama’s administration, will be Biden’s White House press secretary.
Pili Tobar, who worked on Biden’s campaign and previously worked as deputy director of the immigration reform advocacy group America’s Voice, will be the White House deputy communications director. Karine Jean-Pierre, who served as chief of staff to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris during the campaign, will be the principal deputy press secretary. She previously worked for the advocacy group MoveOn.org.
Symone Sanders, who served as national press secretary on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign before signing on early to work for Biden’s campaign, will be a senior adviser and the chief spokesperson for Harris. Ashley Etienne, a former aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who went on to work for Biden’s campaign, will be Harris’ communications director.
And Elizabeth Alexander, who worked for Biden while he was in the Senate before serving as his press secretary while he was vice president, will be Jill Biden’s communications director. Alexander also worked on the Biden campaign.
All of these women are talented and accomplished. But the way that they’re being written about is aggravating, not least because their status as women is seen as indicative as some sort of sea change. “The all-female team will instantly disrupt how journalists cover the administration — at a time when men’s views still typically dominate political and government coverage,” according to the Washington Post. Will it though??? The Post then quoted Biden senior aide Anita Dunn. “The odds are very high that if it’s a story about the Biden administration, any aspect of it, at least one quote in the story will be from a woman,” she told the Post. The bar is low, folks!
Perhaps the most positive development to come out of this announcement was that it pissed off Kayleigh McEnany, who as usual fudged the truth:
In some nice news, it turns out that Donald Trump’s Wisconsin recount, which he had to pay a cool $3 million for, ended up actually increasing Joe Biden’s lead in the state.
From NBC News:
Dane County was the second and last county to finish its recount, reporting a 45-vote gain for Trump. Milwaukee County, the state’s other big and overwhelmingly liberal county targeted in a recount that Trump paid $3 million for, reported its results Friday, a 132-vote gain for Biden.
Taken together, the two counties barely budged Biden’s winning margin of about 20,600 votes, giving the winner a net gain of 87 votes.
- If you traveled for Thanksgiving, Dr. Deborah Birx wants you to get a covid-19 test. [CNN]
- The Supreme Court heard arguments today on the Trump administration’s desire to exclude undocumented Americans from the census count, and they didn’t seem particularly inclined to side with Trump. [Washington Post]
- Joe Biden has announced new additions to his team of economic advisers, which now includes Cecilia Rouse, Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey. Not bad, maybe even pretty good and the best we could expect!!! [NPR]
- Donald Trump did an interview with Fox News on Sunday and all you need to know is that this is an actual sentence that he said: “And then they did dumps. They call them dumps, big, massive dumps.” [CNN]
- Can someone get covid-19 twice? Donald Trump keeps on surrounding himself with people who have covid-19. [Associated Press]
- He somehow forgot to mention the main reason, whose name is Mitch McConnell.