Meet Joe Biden's presidential transition team

Meet Joe Biden's presidential transition team

Joe Biden is turning to some long-standing allies as he assembles his team and prepares to enter the White House

The clock is ticking. With or without the co-operation of the outgoing Trump administration during the transition, Joe Biden wants to hit the ground running when he takes office on January 20.

Irrespective of the blizzard of litigation, Mr Biden has already identified key members of the team he hopes will help ensure that his administration assumes the reins of government smoothly.

From foreign policy experts to veteran Democrat operators, here are some of the key players in Team Biden.

Ron Klain
A close associate of Joe Biden since the late 1980s, the 59-year-old lawyer has already been named as the president-elect's chief of staff.

Given his long relationship with Mr Biden and his key role in the election campaign, his appointment was hardly a surprise.

The only glitch in his relationship with Mr Biden came in 2016, when the then vice-president was considering running for the Oval Office and Mr Klain joined Hillary Clinton's campaign team.

In an email to John Podesta, who chaired the Clinton campaign, Mr Klain feared he was "dead" to those close to Mr Biden, but all was forgiven.

Having served as chief of staff to vice presidents Biden and Al Gore, he will bring considerable White House heft to the team. His experience tackling both the Ebola crisis and aftermath of the 2008 financial crash will serve him well.

Tony Blinken
A fluent French-speaking foreign policy expert, Mr Blinken has been appointed as US secretary of state.

Mr Blinken, 58, was Mr Biden's foreign policy spokesman on the campaign, outlining the shift in Washington's approach should the Democrats take power.

He has worked with the president-elect for more than a decade, having been Mr Biden's chief adviser when he chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He followed Mr Biden into the White House, serving as his national security adviser and later being promoted by Barack Obama to deputy secretary of state.

Mr Blinken played a key role in persuading Congress to back the Iran nuclear deal in 2016. The agreement could be back on the table, but resurrecting it could be difficult, given the likely continued Republican control of the US senate.

A firm believer in the transatlantic alliance, Mr Blinken sees Europe as a "vital partner" and heavily criticised Trump's plans to remove U.S. troops from Germany.

Anita Dunn
A veteran Democrat operator, Anita Dunn has been appointed co-chair of the Biden transition team.

She is credited with playing a key role in reviving the flagging Biden campaign after his disastrous showing in the Iowa caucus, where he finished in fourth place.

Ms Dunn, 62, started her political career as an intern in Jimmy Carter's White House. She has handled the media for a raft of Democratic politicians ever since.

She was communications director for Al Gore's unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2000 and she was a senior adviser to the Obama election team in 2008.

Ms Dunn, who served as President Obama's interim communications director from April to November 2009, spearheaded the attack on conservative Fox News.

Her career has not been without controversy because of her involvement with SKDKnickerbocker, an advertising and consulting firm she founded, whose clients have included major food firms lobbying against Michelle Obama's drive to improve nutritional standards for children.

Ted Kaufman
Charged with handling arguably the most difficult transition in American political history is Ted Kaufman.

But as the veteran senator helped write the laws on presidential transition, he seems well placed to help the President-elect through uncharted political waters leading up to the inauguration.

Now 81, Mr Kaufkan was Joe Biden's chief of staff while he was a senator before taking over his seat when his boss became vice president.

He held the seat until it was won by Chris Coons in a special election. During his 22-month stint in the Senate, Mr Kaufman impressed the left with his tough stance on the banks because of their role in the financial crash.

But he is generally considered a moderate whose political views are closely aligned with those of Joe Biden.

Earlier this year, at an event hosted by the Wall Street Journal, he spoke out against what he regarded as the increasing polarisation of US politics.

Washington observers believe he will give short shrift to people seeking a job in the Biden administration to burnish their CV before swiftly entering the private sector to cash in on their links with the administration.

"He has been clear for a long time that he doesn’t look kindly upon the revolving door," Alexander Mackler, Delaware's chief deputy attorney general told the website, Politico.

Jen O'Malley Dillon
A political strategist, who was credited by Hillary Clinton as one of the key architects of Joe Biden's electoral triumph, will enter Biden's administration as Deputy Chief of Staff.

Jen O'Malley Dillon was brought into the campaign in March, having previously managed Beto O'Rourke's presidential bid.

Her prime task was to convince donors that the Biden team was ready to run a professional and efficient campaign at a time when the Trump team was building up a huge machine to secure his re-election.

Aged 44, she has been the public face for Mr Biden's response to the president's claim that he had won the election and was only being denied his rightful return to the White House by Democrat skullduggery.

Chris Coons
Elected to fill Joe Biden's Delaware senate seat after Ted Kaufman stood down, Chris Coons missed out on the Secretary of State appointment after being tipped for the job.

Mr Coons, 57, had not shied away from letting it be known that he would be interested in the position.

“Joe Biden and I have very similar, closely aligned views on foreign policy,” he said in a statement.

“He’s got a lot of great folks from whom to choose, but if he were to consider me as well, I’d certainly be honoured.”

A centrist, he is seen as somebody who could "reach across the aisle" and do business with the Republicans, which could be crucial if they retain control of the Senate.

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