POLITICS

Biden announces new White House staff picks

President-elect Joe Biden announced additional senior White House staff hires, tapping some of his longest-serving aides to serve alongside newer players in his orbit in key roles in the West Wing.

Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana congressman and former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus who served as Biden’s campaign co-chair, will lead the White House Office of Public Engagement. The post gives him broad reach to help advance Biden’s agenda across the federal government and to work with state and local governments, and also as a “point of entry” for outside groups, according to Anita Dunn, a Biden transition adviser who also played a top campaign role.

“This new role will allow me to offer advice to the president when he wants, maybe sometimes when he doesn’t want it,” Richmond said. “I’ll also be in an office in the West Wing. When you talk about the needs of Louisiana, you want someone in the West Wing.”

Jen O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s campaign manager since March, will serve as deputy chief of staff under Ron Klain, who Biden previously announced would serve as chief of staff. She initially had not expected to serve in a Biden White House but was urged to stay on by Biden officials because of how she successfully navigated the build-up and execution of a general election campaign in extraordinary circumstances.

Steve Ricchetti, who’s been at Biden’s side since 2012 and, like Klain, served as chief of staff to Biden as vice president, will serve as a senior counselor. Mike Donilon, the Biden campaign’s chief strategist in 2020 as well as throughout his political career, will be a senior adviser. Anthony Bernal, who was deputy campaign manager and chief of staff to Jill Biden and became a trusted adviser to both Bidens in the Obama administration, will serve as a senior adviser to the incoming first lady.

Serving as Jill Biden’s chief of staff will be Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon. A former U.S. ambassador to Uruguay and deputy assistant secretary of state, Pantaleon and Jill Biden co-authored a Washington Post op-ed this summer about their firsthand experiences with the plight of asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Julie Rodrigez, who served as political director of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign and later joined Biden’s campaign as deputy campaign manager, will direct the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Dana Remus, the Biden campaign’s general counsel, will transition to White House counsel. Her resume includes a clerkship for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

And overseeing operations of the Oval Office will be Annie Tomasini, who served as Biden’s traveling chief of staff in the campaign after more than a decade in various roles with the president-elect, including his 2008 presidential campaign.

“What these picks show, as was the case with the announcement of Ron Klain as chief of staff, is that he is committed to bringing into the government talented and experienced people who can help hit the ground running to face the challenges ahead,” Dunn told NBC News. “Some of the people on this list have served in not one but two administrations. These are people who know how government works and how to drive process.”

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