Jan 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Anita Dunn to join Biden White House as senior adviser

 Anita Dunn speaks onstage

Anita Dunn speak onstage at 'Women Rule: The L.A. Summit' at NeueHouse Hollywood on June 5, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Veteran communications and campaign strategist Anita Dunn will join Joe Biden's White House on a temporary basis, helping him to advance his opening agenda from inside the West Wing, people familiar with the plans tell Axios.

The big picture: Dunn, a former communications director to President Barack Obama, took on an expanded role in Biden's campaign when it faltered last winter, helping guide it through a party nomination and general election victory.

  • She'll work closely with Kate Bedingfield, who'll be White House communications director, and press secretary Jen Psaki.
  • As a senior adviser, Dunn also will play a key role in coordinating issues across the White House, much as she did during the campaign and as co-chair of Biden’s transition.
  • Dunn played a key role in overseeing strategy and personnel during the campaign and was involved in debate preparation along with her husband, Bob Bauer, a former White House counsel.
  • Dunn had planned to return to her public affairs and political consulting firm, SKDKnickerbocker and still intends to do so later this year.

Between the lines: Most of Biden's top campaign aides and longtime advisers will come into the White House with him, at least for the opening months, as he seeks to heal a nation that's deeply divided in the midst of a devastating pandemic.

  • Chief of staff Ron Klain first worked for Senator Biden in the late 1980s.
  • Bruce Reed, who'll be deputy chief of staff, was a chief of staff to Vice President Biden.
  • Longtime confidants Steve Ricchetti and Mike Donilon also will occupy crucial West Wing roles.

The bottom line: While Biden's Cabinet must run the gauntlet through Senate confirmations, he's stocking the White House with battle-tested advisers who can be up and running on Jan. 20.

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