Nov 23, 2020

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 468 words, a 2-minute read.

🎬 Tonight on "Axios on HBO" (11 p.m. ET/PT): I fly to Wichita for Charles Koch's first TV interview in four years (Clip) ... Moderna chief medical officer Tal Zaks talks to Dan Primack (Clip) ... Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly tells Felix Salmon he should fly (Clip) ... Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) sits down with Alexi McCammond.

1 big thing: Biden's restoration tour

In February, John Kerry joined Joe Biden on the campaign trail in North Liberty, Iowa. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

All six of President-elect Joe Biden’s national security picks today — plus his pick to run Treasury — held senior roles in the Obama administration.

Why it matters: The choices reflect the desire from Bidenworld — which we previewed in Axios AM — to bring trusted and familiar voices to the West Wing.

The list of today's nominees (plus Yellen, whose nomination seems imminent):

  • Secretary of State: Tony Blinken
  • Secretary of Treasury: Janet Yellen
  • Director of National Intelligence: Avril Haines
  • Department of Homeland Security Secretary: Alejandro Mayorkas
  • U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations: Linda Thomas-Greenfield
  • Special presidential envoy on climate: John Kerry
  • National Security Adviser: Jake Sullivan

The big picture: Biden’s picks also break some ground. Mayorkas will be the first Latino to run DHS, Yellen the first woman to run Treasury, and Haines the first woman to be DNI.

  • The list notably does not include Biden's pick to lead the Pentagon, a choice likely to draw intense scrutiny from anti-war and progressive Democrats, reports Margaret Talev.
  • "In naming Mr. Kerry Mr. Biden has tapped the biggest name in his government so far, a veteran politician adept at drawing attention to himself and his causes since he led opposition to the Vietnam War as a decorated young veteran," the N.Y. Times reports.

What's next: Watch for more news on climate. The transition said it will also name a "high-level White House Climate Policy Coordinator" next month in addition to Kerry, notes Ben Geman.

2. Pic du jour
Photo: Kyle Mazza/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

First lady Melania Trump receives the 2020 White House Christmas tree, an 18 foot Fraser Fir from West Virginia.

3. Catch up quick
  1. General Motors is being required to recall and repair any vehicle equipped with Takata airbag inflators. Go deeper.
  2. Today's vaccine announcement from Oxford and AstraZeneca may be far more significant for the rest of the world, since the price tag is far lower and it can be refrigerated for six months. Go deeper.
  3. 🎧 Axios Re:Cap digs into the state of vaccine and therapeutics manufacturing. Listen here.
  4. Moving on: Members of President Trump's Secret Service detail are being asked if they want to transfer to Palm Beach to protect him as ex-president. Go deeper.
4: The "little miracle"
Photo: Smithsonian’s National Zoo via AP

The National Zoo’s new panda cub finally has a name, Xiao Qi Ji — which means "little miracle" in Mandarin, reports AP.

  • The choice was the result of a five-day online poll that drew nearly 135,000 voters to choose between different Mandarin Chinese names.
  • In a nod to Chinese tradition, the name was not chosen until 100 days after the birth.

Go deeper: You can see the cub, who is now 10 pounds and starting to crawl, on the zoo’s popular panda cam.