Joe Biden may have fractured his foot, but he’s still managed to get off to a running start when it comes to filling out his most senior advisers and making good on his pledge to have a presidential cabinet “that looks like America.” That vow continued to come to fruition on Monday when the president-elect officially announced his economic team — a team that includes two Black people.
On Monday, Biden named Janet Yellen to be the U.S. Department of Treasury secretary. That much was expected. But he also named Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo to be her top deputy, an expected move that made the Nigerian-born Obama era official the first Black person to ever serve in that role.
A quick look at Adeyemo’s resume shows he is supremely qualified for his new position. The lawyer who graduated with a J.D. from Yale Law School has been working as the president of the Obama Foundation in Chicago for a little more than a year. But his previous work at the Treasury Department is what likely made picking Adeyemo a no-brainer for Biden.
According to his bio on the website for the Center for Strategic & International Studies, for which he is a senior economic adviser, Adeyemo “held several management positions at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, including senior adviser and deputy chief of staff, as well as chief negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s provisions on macroeconomic policy. Wally also served as the first chief of staff at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In that capacity, he helped to hire the bureau’s initial executive leadership team and build an agency devoted to protecting U.S. consumers.”
Adeyemo was also President Barack Obama‘s international economic adviser while serving as Deputy National Security Advisor and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council from 2015-2017.
Joining Adeyemo on Biden’s economic team is also Cecilia Rouse, who was tapped to be the next chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisers. The influential three-person panel defined by the White House as being “charged with offering the President objective economic advice on the formulation of both domestic and international economic policy.” If confirmed by the Senate, Rouse would be the first Black person to ever hold the position.
Neera Tanden was also picked to be the director of the Office of Management and Budget, the first woman of color to lead that federal agency.
Symone Sanders and Karine Jean-Pierre, who were both senior advisers on Biden’s campaign, were also announced Sunday they would be joining an all-female senior communications team for the White House’s incoming administration.
Jean-Pierre, who was Harris’ campaign chief of staff and advised Biden on strategy, communication and engaging with crucial communities such as Black people, women and progressives, will be the White House’s principal deputy press secretary. Sanders, for her part, will be the chief spokeswoman for Vice President Kamala Harris.
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