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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Kate Bedingfield, Symone Sanders and Karine Jean-Pierre are all in contention to serve as President-elect Joe Biden's White House press secretary, but sources tell Axios there are other alternatives — including the possibility of bringing on a prominent TV personality.

Why it matters: The face and voice at the podium matters substantively and symbolically.

  • Given that Biden is a white man whose top advisers may include many white men, and that he has promised to diversify Democratic Party leadership, it's likely he will pick a woman, a person of color or both for the podium.
  • Where the press secretary ranks on the White House org chart is up to the chief of staff — so Ron Klain will decide whether the role reports to him or the communications director.

Details: Sanders worked for Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2016 and joined Biden's 2020 bid early. Observers note her deftness on TV and that she was a frequent Biden travel companion during the campaign's closing weeks.

  • Jean-Pierre, a former Obama official, joined the team in May and served as Kamala Harris' chief of staff after she was tapped for running mate in August. Jean-Pierre traveled less with Harris toward the end of the campaign.
  • Kate Bedingfield, Biden's communication director when he was vice president, drew accolades for the communications plan correctly envisioning him securing the nomination in South Carolina. She has remained close to him and also could end up as White House communications director.
  • Jen Psaki, who has joined Biden's transition team and served as Obama's communications director, has told officials that with young kids at home, she has no plans to come back.

Flashback: When Biden became vice president, he picked Time magazine journalist Jay Carney for his communications director. Carney later became President Obama's second press secretary.

  • More recently, Biden tapped historian and former Newsweek editor Jon Meacham for help with his campaign speeches, bringing another white man's perspective with some rhetorical and celebrity wattage.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The top Republicans who have acknowledged Biden as president-elect

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Some elected Republicans are breaking ranks with President Trump to acknowledge that President-elect Biden won the 2020 presidential election.

Why it matters: The relative sparsity of acknowledgements highlights Trump's lasting power in the GOP, as his campaign moves to file multiple lawsuits alleging voter fraud in key swing states — despite the fact that there have been no credible allegations of any widespread fraud anywhere in the U.S.

Nov 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Democrats expect Biden to name Linda Thomas-Greenfield UN ambassador

Former assistant secretary of African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield, 2014. Photo: Amine Landoulsi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Democrats close to President-elect Biden expect him to name Linda Thomas-Greenfield as ambassador to the United Nations, looking to a Black woman and respected diplomat to restore morale.

The big picture: The decision would be in line with Biden's pledge to name a diverse Cabinet. It's likely he will pick a woman or a person of color — or both — as his White House press secretary, and Democrats are urging him to nominate several Latinos to high-profile Cabinet positions.

Updated Nov 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden to name Antony Blinken as secretary of state

Anthony Blinken, then deputy secretary of state speaks at a 2016 summit 2016 in New York City. Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Concordia Summit

President-elect Joe Biden will name as secretary of state his longtime adviser Antony Blinken, who has held diplomatic and national security jobs since the Clinton administration, a Biden adviser confirmed to Axios on Sunday.

Our thought bubble: By nominating Blinken, who has worked closely with Biden over the past two decades, Biden may return more authority to and work to rebuild the ranks and morale inside the diplomatic corps after President Trump moved to diminish its reach and centralize decision making inside the White House.

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