Nov 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden to bring Donilon and Ricchetti into White House

Joe Biden walks out of a building.
Biden after delivering remarks on the economic recovery in Wilmington, Del. Nov. 16. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden is bringing two longtime confidants — Steve Ricchetti and Mike Donilon — into the West Wing along with newer faces as he fills out out his senior White House staff.

Driving the news: Biden named Ron Klain as his chief of staff last week, and on Tuesday announced other members of his senior team.

  • Donilon, a longtime member of Biden's circle, will serve as senior adviser, while Ricchetti, who was one of Biden's chiefs of staff as vice president, will serve as counselor.
  • Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana will resign his seat in Congress and serve as senior adviser and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
  • Jen O’Malley Dillon, who took over Biden's campaign in April, will serve as deputy chief of staff.
  • Dana Remus, who was the campaign's general legal counsel, will be White House counsel.
  • Julie Rodriguez, who joined the Biden campaign as deputy campaign manager in May, will direct the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
  • Annie Tomasini, a longtime Biden adviser and former deputy press secretary when he was vice president, will be director of Oval Office operations.

Top staff members for incoming first lady Jill Biden also were announced: Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon, a former ambassador to Uruguay, as chief of staff; and Anthony Bernal, a veteran of Biden's vice presidential office, as senior adviser.

Why it matters: Biden is balancing his old guard with some fresh faces, giving Richmond a major role and rewarding O'Malley Dillon for successfully running his campaign.

  • By giving Rodriguez, the granddaughter of Cesar Chavez, a role in coordinating policy across all agencies, he is signaling to Hispanics that their concerns will be heard.
  • "America faces great challenges, and they bring diverse perspectives and a shared commitment to tackling these challenges and emerging on the other side a stronger, more united nation,” Biden said in a statement with the announcements.

What they're saying: “President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris have an ambitious and urgent agenda for action," Klain said. "The team we have already started to assemble will enable us to meet the challenges facing our country on day one."

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