Joe Biden’s Team of Careerists

Ivy League credentials and long Washington experience set the tone for his administration.

11/24/2020 5:15:00 PM

Ivy League credentials and long Washington experience are setting the tone for Joe Biden's administration

Ivy League credentials and long Washington experience set the tone for his administration.

Among those now headed to the White House with Biden as counselor is Steve Ricchetti, who began his career as Washington operative right out of Miami of Ohio in the early 1980s and has been deputy chief of staff in Bill Clinton’s White House and chief of staff to Vice President Biden in the Obama administration. Also going in with Biden as White House senior adviser is veteran political operative Mike Donilon, who has been with him for years. So has Donilon’s sister-in-law, Cathy Russell, who will now run the White House personnel office. Her husband is Tom Donilon, who began in Washington as a young aide to Jimmy Carter and then became Obama’s National Security Adviser.

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Even as only a fraction of positions in the Biden administration are filled it is already obvious his team has some defining signatures. After years in which Trump and allies denounced a sinister “Deep State” buried in the executive branch, and many senior jobs went to people with scant credentials other than loyalty to him, the people getting Biden’s top jobs for the most part have been immersed in government and Washington culture for decades — just like their boss.

For all the attention to the various ideological messages Biden may be sending with appointments, as he tries to hold together a Democratic coalition of jostling factions, what he is assembling is not so much a team of rivals as a team of careerists. A contender for Secretary of Defense is Michele Flournoy, who has been in national security circles for decades. She started a public affairs firm with Blinken, and graduated from Harvard a couple years before him.

Perhaps the closest equivalent is George H.W. Bush, who relied on decades-old relationships in Washington to fill his administration. The next four successors —Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama, and Trump — all arrived from outside Washington or after a very short tenure here, and had to integrate personal loyalists into the Washington firmament. In Biden’s case, these two groups are exactly the same.

What’s also notable is how much endurance his team has shown. In most cases they started their Washington careers as prodigies, with impressive jobs at young ages. Now, most are deep into middle age, toiling for a boss who is well past it, as they finally grasp top prizes.

Klain, who served as chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore before holding the same job for Biden, could plausibly have been a White House chief of staff at age 39 if Gore had won the 2000 election. As it happened, Klain got portrayed by actor Kevin Spacey in the movie “Recount,” but he didn’t get the job he wanted until two decades later.

James P. Rubin, who was a top deputy to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in the 1990s but was a foreign policy advisor to Biden on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee a decade before that, says there is an important lesson in this endurance. Biden commands long-term loyalty in a way that many politicians do not.

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“When you work for him he gives you enormous strength — he trusts you to run with the ball and he protects you when you fumble,” Rubin said. “He gives you great confidence that he would be there for you if you were fighting for him.” It is a pattern that began in his Senate days: “He wanted the best people, he attracted them, he gave them a long leash, and he was at the center of important things.”

The Biden TransitionJoe Biden may be the new president-elect — but with President Donald Trump attempting to undermine the results and Senate control up still up for grabs, the story of the election is far from over. Read more: POLITICO »

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America will soon have a competent and experienced team to lead it, none of them named Trump. Remember how Repubs stood quietly by as Trump appointed slumlord son in law Kushner to spearhead Middle East peace? Yeah. Thought so. -- The POTUS and his cabinet now are all IVY league graduates. You guys aren't very good at this reporting thing.

Hire investigators or coordinate with current employees,, if they are still there.I think Trump wants to let them all go so we don't have anyone of authority to tell us where things are at, or all the rules and laws changed by Trump since he came to benefit his cronies and him. This is so dad. Reverb before Biden takes office Rubio opens his mouth and out flows nonsense. Can we just have GOP silence for just a moment. Please. Forest Gump was right about stupid.

I don't care where they went to school. I care what they have done and will do for our country Like Trump and most other presidents picking their people- 🙄 👏👏👏👏👏👏 Nice. Competent. Experience. 😌 ...Babosetes todos!!! So is open warmongering. Biden 🤮 jwhoopes2 Really, Politico? Democracy is hanging by a thread, and you are calling out educated, competent people being called to govern?

What a way to frame this article! Trump — UPenn Pompeo — Harvard Law Mnuchin — Yale Esper — Harvard Barr — Columbia Ross — Yale + Harvard Acosta — Harvard Azar — Dartmouth + Yale Law Carson — Yale Chao — Harvard Navarro — Harvard Translation: the Swamp is back. BidenTransition BidenNotMyPresident DemocratsAreDestroyingAmerica

is being mighty hypocritical with its tone. Yes because it takes a lot of discipline to have either of these or both--- Someone sounds upset they don’t get to report on nepotism and corruption anymore. Yes, by all means lets avoid the universities where the smartest people compete to be accepted. Southeast East Virginia Comprehensive Technical College above all!

What's the deal with Ivy League schools? William Barr: Columbia Mike Pompeo: Harvard Steve Mnuchin: Yale Elaine Chao: Harvard Alex Azar: Dartmouth AND Yale Alex Acosta: Harvard Mark Esper: Harvard Dr. Ben Carson: Yale I'm not even including Trump (UPenn) because he cheated. Asinine headline. Marco Rubio junkfood.

He is not the President elect and therefore has no administration. This is fake news. After 4 solid years of writing hate based lies and propaganda for the DNC the leftist filth in the media are looking forward to some good old boot licking now. EnemyOfThePeople Ivory towers and the swamp. Careerists — not nepotism.

I guess “Well educated, diverse and experienced candidates nominated for Cabinet positions” didn’t give you the clickbait you needed. The return of the swamp creatures and those who have enriched themselves at taxpayer expense. Maybe even another war or 2. Competent. Basically swamp creatures . Same old havks that buried us. DrainTheSwamp

So rich corporate types. Got it. As it should be. Normalcy shall return to the people's house. What’s wrong with some Pakistani guy with a degree from university of Nebraska. Trump has Ivy League credentials. You mean the swamp? We know. Considering all the Ivy League graduates in the realDonaldTrump administration and humiliating themselves daily in the upper echelon of the GOP, Ivy League credentials don't mean that much anymore.

I think this country is going in the direction of a hybrid socialist/capitalist nation. Where taxes will go up in exchange for helping vulnerable people not go without basic needs. And that’s a good thing. Sorry haters and traitors, but the last four years has been one rank failure and capitulation after another. Most of the damage before that was done by GOP administrations like G. W. Bush. No more of that.