Axios Sneak Peek
April 25, 2021
Welcome back to Sneak. Tonight we kick off our weeklong buildup to President Biden's 100th day with an all-Biden edition.
Today's newsletter — edited by Glen Johnson — is 572 words, a 2-minute read.
1 big thing: Biden close to naming ambassadors for EU and NATO
President Biden is leaning toward nominating Mark Gitenstein to be his ambassador to the European Union and Julie Smith as his envoy to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, people familiar with the matter tell Axios' Hans Nichols.
Driving the news: Some Biden advisers want to have the EU and NATO ambassadors announced ahead of Biden’s first foreign trip as president, when he heads to the United Kingdom for the G-7 and then Brussels for a NATO summit in June.
- While the president began reviewing names of potential ambassadors in March, officials have stressed he's taking his time on making final decisions.
- Gitenstein, an international lawyer and President Obama's first ambassador to Romania, now serves as a senior counsel at Mayer Brown. He's also on the board of directors of The Biden Foundation.
- Smith, a German speaker who was one of Biden's deputy national security advisers while he was vice president, is currently a senior adviser at the State Department.
- Biden officials say that final decisions have not been made.
2. Biden's three tools for selling progressive policies: Jobs, jobs, jobs
Biden has found a key tool for selling the most progressive parts of his agenda during his first 100 days: make them all about jobs, Axios' Alayna Treene writes.
Why it matters: Long considered a centrist Democrat, Biden has had to court and cater to his party's progressive wing to maintain support in a narrowly divided Congress. Talking jobs also has the benefit of resonating with the moderates and conservatives he needs in 2022 and beyond.
The big picture: From coronavirus relief and infrastructure to climate change and immigration, the president has continually argued each proposal will be an economic driver and jobs creator — addressing a key vulnerability Democrats have faced in pushing progressive solutions previously.
- As he rolled out his climate plan to a worldwide audience Thursday, Biden declared: “When people talk about climate, I think jobs.”
3. Biden's 100-day numbers: Vaccinated Americans
Biden promised as president-elect to get 100 million coronavirus vaccine shots in American arms during his first 100 days in office; since taking office, he's more than doubled that goal — and more than a quarter of Americans are now fully vaccinated, Axios' Stef Kight reports.
By the numbers: Not quite 1% were vaccinated when Biden took office, although the Trump administration managed to reach an important milestone of 1 million doses administered in a day.
- The Biden administration has since surpassed 4 million vaccine doses administered in a day three times, according to CDC data.
Of note: Axios Sneak Peek will be counting down to Biden’s 100th day in office on Friday with data-driven analyses of the administration's accomplishments and challenges each day this week.
4. Biden's preemption doctrine
Biden has repeatedly telegraphed tough decisions with earlier announcements designed to cushion the blow, Axios' Glen Johnson writes.
Driving the news: On Friday, the White House announced a generic call with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey. Less than 24 hours later, the president issued a statement labeling a World War I Armenian massacre "genocide," angering the Turks.
- Several weeks ago, Biden released a slate of career foreign service officers he was nominating to be U.S. ambassadors.
- The president will soon announce a series of friends and donors to marquee diplomatic jobs, a traditional source of friction between political appointees and careerists at the State Department.
- On April 14, Biden also announced his new liaison to the Asian American Pacific Islander community just before he sat down with a group of AAPI lawmakers — including two who had demanded just such an appointment.
Why it matters: Good policy stems from good politics, and Biden prides himself on being a gentleman. But the two-step also reveals what bettors would call a presidential "tell."
5. Tweet du jour
President Biden promised access when he asked Kamala Harris to be his vice president, and she says he's delivered since they took office.
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