Welcome to the primary version of POLITICO’s 2020 Transition Playbook, your information to what could possibly be one of the crucial consequential transfers of energy in American historical past. Our mantra, one embraced by operatives in each events, is that “personnel is coverage.” And the selections the president — whether or not it’s the incumbent, DONALD TRUMP, or Democratic presidential nominee JOE BIDEN — will make on staffing the subsequent administration will ship some clear-cut alerts about his agenda for the subsequent 4 years.
With that in thoughts, advisers to each males have been working behind the scenes for months vetting potential nominees and drafting coverage proposals. And activists are organizing like by no means earlier than to form the route they take.
FIRST UP: THE 2020 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY BATTLE NEVER ENDED, IT’S JUST ON PAUSE. If Trump loses on Nov. 3, Biden will encounter a barrage of calls for on Nov. 4.
The preliminary conflicts will revolve round range: gender, racial and ideological.
The left wing has been organizing round transitions since 2009, after feeling shut out by Barack Obama’s workforce, and have already got a roster of individuals they are going to attempt to veto or push. Black voters vaulted Biden to the nomination and Black lawmakers have already made it clear that appointing folks of coloration to posts like secretary of Housing and City Improvement is inadequate. They wish to see range on the very high of the administration. And with feminine Democrats having led the anti-Trump motion because the Ladies’s March, many will push gender parity — at the least — within the Cupboard and within the West Wing.
As if that weren’t sufficient, executives at Wall Road companies and huge know-how corporations have been pouring cash into the Biden marketing campaign for the ultimate stretch and hope to maintain the left wing at bay. Biden, himself, campaigned on uniting the nation, not simply the Democratic Occasion, and would possibly wish to attain throughout the aisle and appoint at the least one Republican.
All of those pursuits see Biden as malleable, so count on them to be aggressive each publicly and within the proverbial vape-filled rooms. In different phrases, count on a brawl.
THE CHALLENGES BIDEN COULD FACE in navigating all these strain factors are already coming to a head on his financial workforce, the place there’s little racial range among the many high advisers.
Enjoying a number one position right here is progressive economist JARED BERNSTEIN, a longtime Biden aide who’s well-liked on the left. However there are few advisers of coloration on this house, 4 folks near the transition inform us, with the notable exception of DON GRAVES — one other longtime ally who has Biden’s ear and holds important affect. Graves served as director of home and financial coverage for Biden when he was vice chairman, and he cuts a large swath now, these folks say.
The Biden workforce has emphasised that range of every kind is a precedence and will likely be within the administration, if he wins the election. They observe that CECILIA MUÑOZ and JOELLE GAMBLE are engaged on the transition’s financial workforce, as properly.
Even those that knock the dearth of range nonetheless credit score Biden for proposing sweeping insurance policies aimed toward addressing problems with systemic racism. “If you have a look at range points, particularly in the event you’re trying on the wealth hole within the Black neighborhood … I feel you’ve received to think about your insurance policies as step one, extra so than personnel,” LARRY PARKS, the CEO of Forethought Advisors, advised Transition Playbook. “Biden’s put some fairly radical stuff on the desk.”
There’s additionally an issue simmering between the occasion’s left wing, which is pushing to maintain company affect out of a possible Biden administration, and Black Democrats on Capitol Hill and K Street who say such purity tests would severely limit the pool of candidates of coloration.
They level to MELLODY HOBSON, co-CEO and president of Ariel Investments, and ROGER FERGUSON, president and CEO of TIAA, as examples of people that could be rendered ineligible by a company ban.
“There’s a rising frustration, at the least inside the CBC, directed on the far-left progressives,” one individual aware of the transition course of advised us, referring to the Congressional Black Caucus, “as a result of the names that [progressive groups] are pushing are overwhelmingly white.”
UNITY CABINET? ALICE MIRANDA OLLSTEIN, MEGAN CASSELLA and HOLLY OTTERBEIN scoop that Sen. BERNIE SANDERS is hoping to hitch a potential Biden administration, and has been expressing specific curiosity within the position of Labor Secretary, in line with two folks aware of the conversations.
“I can verify he’s attempting to determine the best way to land that position or one thing prefer it,” stated one individual near Sanders. “He, personally, does have an curiosity in it.”
The Vermont senator, who has been campaigning laborious for the Democratic nominee after dropping his second presidential main bid earlier this 12 months, has been in Congress since 1990. One union official famous that becoming a member of a Biden administration may assist the 79-year-old Sanders craft a legacy — “having the ability to assist rebuild the economic system in a manner that works for working Individuals after this pandemic.”
It could additionally draw cheers from the left, which has been pushing for progressives to take senior roles in a possible Biden administration.
There’s a giant “however”: Vermont Gov. PHIL SCOTT, a Republican, would have the ability to appoint a short lived successor to Sanders’ seat till a particular election is held, which per state regulation should happen inside six months of the seat being vacated. Even permitting Scott the chance to fill Sanders’ seat with a GOP lawmaker within the quick time period may doubtlessly have an effect on management of the Senate, relying on the outcomes of November’s election.
TRUMP 2.0: Ought to he win reelection, Trump wouldn’t have to start out from scratch the best way a President Biden would, however there’ll nonetheless be loads of personnel drama early on in his second time period.
“Lots of people who’re right here would depart,” a present White Home official stated, including that “you’d get numerous new blood” into the White Home.
However the official dismissed the concept it could be laborious to seek out expertise in a second time period and stated that “everybody likes to really feel highly effective.” Extra beneath.
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NEW BLOOD: Trump’s first time period was marked by unprecedented turnover from the Cupboard on down, and his second would doubtless be the identical. That’s very true at first, with a lot of key officers anticipated to depart promptly after the election. DANIEL LIPPMAN spoke with eight present and former Trump administration officers to get a lay of the land.
JOHN RATCLIFFE, Trump’s controversial present director of nationwide intelligence, is seen as a potential legal professional normal if WILLIAM BARR leaves, in line with an administration official, who stated “he’s a bulldog for the president’s goals.”
Present marketing campaign strategist JASON MILLER is being mentioned in Trump-world as White Home communications director, ought to the job open up in a second time period. That was the job that Miller was imagined to get at first of the primary time period, till an extramarital affair got here out throughout the transition. SEAN SPICER, Trump’s former press secretary, advised us: “He’d be a terrific addition and POTUS is a giant fan.” Miller, nonetheless, advised POLITICO that the excitement about him for the White Home submit was “not correct.”
Well being and Human Providers Secretary ALEX AZAR has been broadly criticized for the Trump administration’s fumbled response to the coronavirus, and Trump final week advised a Florida rally that Azar would get the “blame” if a vaccine doesn’t get delivered quick. That’s put extra strain on the ever-embattled Azar, however the well being secretary has survived a number of shut calls earlier than. An individual near Azar stated the position “has been and continues to be the secretary’s dream job.” If Trump pushes Azar out, CMS administrator SEEMA VERMA is seen as a contender to interchange him, in line with POLITICO’s DAN DIAMOND.
“Her allies have pushed her for HHS secretary previously — like after TOM PRICE was pressured out in 2017, and her supporters made it clear that she could be good — and Trump likes her and thinks she’s robust and delivers,” Diamond advised us. Vice President MIKE PENCE “and his folks even have her again. However Verma additionally has been dogged by scandals (just like the taxpayer-funded PR consultants revealed by POLITICO) that can make it troublesome to truly verify her. It’s extra of a theoretical train than one thing sure.”
Training Secretary BETSY DEVOS has made clear she might not stick round if there’s a second time period — when requested at a latest occasion at Hillsdale School whether or not she would keep, DeVos laughed and stated you’d need to ask her husband. Secretary of State MIKE POMPEO has stated he needs to remain for a second time period, at the least initially. An individual aware of the matter stated Pompeo would doubtless solely keep for a 12 months to a year-and-a-half, however needs to see by way of a few of the administration’s China and Iran coverage efforts. ROBERT O’BRIEN, Trump’s nationwide safety adviser, Sens. TOM COTTON (R-Ark.) and LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-S.C.), Treasury Secretary STEVEN MNUCHIN and former appearing Director of Nationwide Intelligence RIC GRENELL are being mentioned as choices for secretary of State after Pompeo leaves, in line with an administration official.
BRIAN HOOK, who was head of coverage planning on the State Division and the division’s lead official for the Arab peace agreements with Israel and has JARED KUSHNER and others in his nook, could possibly be picked as nationwide safety adviser or CIA director if O’Brien or GINA HASPEL leaves, one other administration official stated. Hook has been an outdoor adviser to the White Home since final month so he can proceed engaged on these Arab peace agreements.
MATT POTTINGER, Trump’s deputy nationwide safety adviser, is about on leaving his job, regardless, in line with the primary administration official.
However not everybody is anticipated to go for the exits ought to Trump win reelection. PAT CIPOLLONE, Trump’s highly effective White Home counsel, would doubtless keep, in line with a present White Home official: “I feel he’ll keep endlessly.” Similar goes for KUSHNER and IVANKA TRUMP, in addition to Nationwide Financial Council Director LARRY KUDLOW, in line with the official. Kudlow stated in a textual content message that he takes his job a “day at a time.”
CHAD WOLF, the appearing DHS secretary because the finish of 2019, will doubtless get confirmed solely after the election. He would serve properly into Trump’s second time period and put a renewed give attention to immigration whereas nonetheless specializing in civil unrest, in line with a senior administration official.
In the identical manner Biden aides defer all transition hypothesis till after the election, nonetheless, members of Trump-world insist they’re centered solely on profitable the reelection. “I’m certain all of the scheming (about second-term jobs) will occur in the event that they win,” a former White Home official advised us.
MAYOR PETE MAKES HIS MOVE: Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor PETE BUTTIGIEG has been taking part in up his international coverage cred in latest months, an indication the previous presidential candidate is likely to be angling for a global affairs submit — maybe as ambassador to the United Nations or a high-profile diplomatic perch in, say, Russia or China.
In July, he co-wrote an op-ed in Foreign Policy — principally the in-flight journal of the nationwide safety set — laying out his worldview and is set to address “FP Insiders and Premium subscribers” this coming Monday with the journal’s editor-in-chief, Jonathan Tepperman.
“It’s pure that folks consider him extra on the home facet as a result of he’s been a mayor for the previous a number of years however this can be a matter of nice, enormous curiosity of his and within the marketing campaign he wished to emphasise engagement with the world and alliances,” Obama NSC veteran PHILIP GORDON, who co-wrote the opinion piece with Buttigieg and suggested him on international coverage throughout the marketing campaign, advised Transition Playbook. A Buttigieg spokesperson, nonetheless, advised us Mayor Pete had turned down many international policy-related invites and famous that he participates in occasions on each international and home points. So, ¯_(ツ)_/¯?
Threat-reward calculations: Buttigieg’s title has come up for U.S. commerce consultant, however he has most frequently been floated to be secretary of Veterans Affairs, given his previous service in Afghanistan and his marketing consultant background. Ask a plugged-in Democrat, nonetheless, and so they’ll inform you the job is low on political reward and excessive on danger, with bureaucratic scandals ensnaring a number of previous VA secretaries. The formidable Buttigieg would possibly attempt to avoid the submit. An ambassadorship, then again, would beef up his worldwide expertise, ought to he ever wish to run once more (trace: he does).
SURVEY SAYS: Progressive suppose tank Knowledge for Progress and advocacy group Demand Progress surveyed Republicans, Democrats and independents on what sort of individual could be finest suited to be White Home chief of workers in a Biden administration. Ought to it’s: A. somebody who “known as for chopping Social Safety and Medicare throughout the Nice Recession”; B. a former lobbyist for pharmaceutical corporations and the insurance coverage trade; or C. the previous worker at a “large company regulation agency”?
Democrats discovered Choice C, a resume that corresponds to longtime Biden adviser RON KLAIN, to be the least objectionable, in line with polling data provided exclusively to POLITICO. Profiles A and B confer with Biden aides BRUCE REED and STEVE RICCHETTI, respectively, we’re advised.
What it means: Polling hypothetical chiefs of workers for a candidate who has not but gained election is an uncommon gambit, to say the least. It’s half of a bigger strain marketing campaign by Democrats on the left to push Biden towards a extra progressive agenda and restrict the appointment of individuals seen as too business-friendly.
AMERICA IN THE WORLD: After 4 years of Trump, Biden is more likely to put a extra conventional foot ahead on the worldwide stage — and U.S. allies are already gaming out what which means. Enterprise and labor leaders in Ottawa advised ANDY BLATCHFORD they’d count on “a friendlier tone in direction of Canada” from a President Biden, however his “proposals round commerce, procurement and local weather have potential to create friction.” More from Andy.
NAHAL TOOSI digs into the most likely candidates to be Biden’s secretary of State, a job that can require rebuilding morale at Foggy Backside and throughout the Overseas Service.
BIDEN can have his work reduce out for him in attempting to restore the fraying intelligence neighborhood, one thing his marketing campaign adviser TONY BLINKEN advised us they’d wish to do “instantly.” NATASHA BERTRAND and KYLE CHENEY have heaps extra — together with names — here.
JUST ASKING — Would a President Biden maintain CHRIS WRAY in place? FBI administrators serve a 10-year time period, a system meant to insulate them from partisan politics. This transition will likely be extra fraught than most, and WRAY is a Republican who was really useful for the job by CHRIS CHRISTIE. However there’s additionally the declare that the previous VP’s son HUNTER is below some type of federal investigation. We don’t know if that’s true — however whether it is, it could make axing the FBI director an particularly dicey political proposition for BIDEN.
Biden climate team quietly plans transition (E&E Information)
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