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President-elect Joe Biden will have an all-female communications team at his White House, led by campaign communications director Kate Bedingfield

President-elect Joe Biden will have an all-female senior communications team at his White House, reflecting his stated desire to build out a diverse White House team as well as what’s expected to be a return to a more traditional press operation.

Biden campaign communications director Kate Bedingfield will serve as Biden’s White House communications director. Jen Psaki, a longtime Democratic spokeswoman, will be his press secretary.

Four of the seven top communications roles at the White House will be filled by women of color, and it’s the first time the entire senior White House communications team will be entirely female.

President Donald Trump upended the ways in which his administration communicated with the press. In contrast with administrations past, Trump’s communications team held few press briefings, and those that did occur were often combative affairs riddled with inaccuracies and falsehoods.

Trump himself sometimes served as his own press secretary, taking questions from the media, and he often bypassed the White House press corps entirely by dialing into his favorite Fox News shows.

In a different area of the White House operation, Biden plans to announce a number of his top economic advisers this week. He’ll name Neera Tanden, the president and CEO of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, as director of the Office of Management and Budget, according to a person familiar with the transition process granted anonymity to speak freely about internal deliberations.

In a statement announcing the White House communications team, Biden said: “Communicating directly and truthfully to the American people is one of the most important duties of a President, and this team will be entrusted with the tremendous responsibility of connecting the American people to the White House.”

He added: “These qualified, experienced communicators bring diverse perspectives to their work and a shared commitment to building this country back better.”

Bedingfield, Psaki and Tanden are all veterans of the Obama administration. Bedingfield served as communications director for Biden while he was vice president; Psaki was a White House communications director and a spokesperson at the State Department; and Tanden served as a senior adviser to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and helped craft the Affordable Care Act.

Others joining the White House communications staff are:

— Karine Jean Pierre, who was Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ chief of staff, will serve as a principal deputy press secretary for the president-elect. She’s another Obama administration alum, having served as a regional political director for the White House office of political affairs.

— Pili Tobar, who was communications director for coalitions on Biden’s campaign, will be his deputy White House communications director. She most recently was deputy director for America’s Voice, an immigration reform advocacy group, and was a press staffer for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

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Three Biden campaign senior advisers are being appointed to top communications roles:

— Ashley Etienne, a former communications director for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will serve as Harris’ communications director.

— Symone Sanders, another senior adviser on the Biden campaign, will be Harris’ senior adviser and chief spokesperson.

— Elizabeth Alexander, who served as the former vice president’s press secretary and his communications director while he was a U.S. senator from Delaware, will serve as Jill Biden’s communications director.

After his campaign went virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic, Biden faced some criticism for not being accessible to reporters. But near the end of the campaign, he answered questions from the press more frequently, and his transition team has held weekly briefings since he was elected president.

The choice of a number of Obama administration veterans — many with deep relationships with the Washington press corps — also suggests a return to a more congenial relationship with the press.

Also joining the Biden administration as economic advisers, according to a person familiar with transition plans who was not authorized to speak on the matter:

— Brian Deese, a former Obama administration economic adviser, is expected to be named to head the National Economic Council.

— Princeton University economist Cecilia Rouse, who served on the Council of Economic Advisers during the Obama administration, is expected to be named to head the Council of Economic advisers.

— Heather Boushey, the president and co-founder of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, and Jared Bernstein, who served as an economic adviser to Biden during the Obama administration, are also expected to be named to the Council of Economic Advisers.

As head of the OMB, Tanden would be responsible for preparing Biden’s budget submission and would command several hundred budget analysts, economists and policy advisers with deep knowledge of the inner workings of the government.

Her choice may mollify progressives, who have been putting pressure on Biden to show his commitment to progressive priorities with his early staff appointments. She was chosen over more moderate voices with roots in the party’s anti-deficit wing such as Bruce Reed, who was staff director of President Barack Obama’s 2010 deficit commission, which proposed a set of politically painful recommendations that were never acted upon.

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Coronavirus Vaccine

Biden will honor 500K US COVID-19 deaths with candle lighting ceremony

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President Biden plans to mark 500,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the US with a candle lighting ceremony Monday, according to the White House.

The president will deliver a heartfelt speech at sundown at the White House’s Cross Hall to commemorate the grim death toll milestone, Biden’s press schedule said Sunday.

“The president will deliver remarks on the lives lost to COVID-19 in the Cross Hall,” the schedule states.

“[He will then] hold a moment of silence and candle lighting ceremony at sundown in the South Portico.”

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Biden will honor the lives lost to the illness — which on Sunday hovered just under 500,000, according to state health officials — alongside Vice President Kamala Harris and First Lady Jill Biden.

Biden and Harris also held a somber ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial a day before taking office last month to honor the 400,000 lives lost to the coronavirus.

“To heal, we must remember,” Biden said at the time.

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Joe Biden to meet Justin Trudeau of Canada after Keystone pipeline order

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Joe Biden will hold his first bilateral meeting with the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, on Tuesday, the White House said on Saturday.

The meeting, which will be virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic, will aim to elevate collaboration on shared concerns at a time when the relationship between the close allies has been strained by Biden’s decision to block the Canada-backed Keystone XL pipeline.

In a statement, the White House said Biden and his cabinet will also meet virtually with Canadian ministers on a range of issues.

The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said it would be “an opportunity for the two leaders to review joint efforts in areas of mutual interest such as the Covid-19 response, climate change and the economic ties that bind our countries, as well as the deep people-to-people bonds we share.

“The president will highlight the strong and deep partnership between the United States and Canada as neighbors, friends and Nato allies,” she said.

Trudeau called the US-Canada relationship “one of the strongest and deepest friendships between any two countries” and said: “It is built on common values, strong ties between our people and a shared geography … We will work together to end the Covid-19 pandemic and support people in both our countries.”

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Trudeau was the first world leader to congratulate Biden after the November election and Canada is looking forward to turning the page on the Donald Trump era, when relations between the two countries became somewhat strained.

While Biden has had at-times lengthy calls with foreign leaders, his Canada meeting will extend to lower-level meetings between cabinet ministers, as have interactions with Mexico and several European allies.

Biden revoked a permit for the Keystone pipeline, which would transport 830,000 barrels a day of carbon-intensive heavy crude from Alberta to Nebraska, on his first day in office last month, as part of a flurry of executive orders aimed at curbing climate change.

Trudeau has said Canada will seek exemptions to a US effort to ensure federal agencies buy US-produced goods. The US move could hurt Canada, given how tightly the two nations’ economies are integrated.

The two countries are in a shared standoff with China after Canada’s detention of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies on a US arrest warrant.

Beijing detained and charged two Canadians with espionage after the detention of Meng, who remains under house arrest.
(The guardian)

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Joe Biden

VIDEO: 18 AG’s Urge Biden to Reinstate ICE Operation; Biden Is Using Religion as Cover: Pro-Life Activist

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18 AG’s Urged Biden to Reinstate ICE Operation

Biden Is Using Religion as Cover: Pro-Life Activist

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