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Biden putting together post-election transition team, talks Cabinet makeup

The apparent Democratic presidential nominee did not rule out announcing some Cabinet member selections before November's election.
Image: Joe Biden  during a campaign stop at Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Miss.,
Joe Biden during a campaign stop at Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Miss., on March 8, 2020.Brendan McDermid / Reuters

WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Joe Biden announced during a virtual fundraiser Thursday that he is starting to put together a post-election transition team as he sets his sights beyond November.

Biden, the apparent Democratic presidential nominee, also did not rule out announcing some Cabinet member selections before November's election, which the transition team would be tasked with overseeing.

In response to a donor question, Biden said he had begun to form a transition team because of the numerous vacancies that exist throughout President Donald Trump’s administration and acknowledged that he needs to begin brainstorming which talented people could fill numerous roles in many governmental agencies.

“I promise you that has already begun,” Biden said, while admitting looking ahead to the presidency “sounds presumptuous.”

“I don’t want it to sound like that, but it has to happen and that’s why the transition team is already being put together.”

What may have led to his decision to piece together a committee sooner rather than later are the number of public servants who have approached Biden about returning to government if he’s elected president.

“I have had literally several hundred serious, serious players who have been held positions in every department in the federal government who have said, including some Republicans, who have said if you win, I want to come back. I’m ready to serve,” Biden said.

Biden spent the primary distinguishing himself as the candidate who would be most ready to assume office on “Day One” of his presidency given his experience. Following Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ departure from the race last week, Biden is now aiming to keep true to his word by readying himself and his potential administration to inherit a consequential economic depression driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Biden declined to announce who is heading the selection of the transition team, but promised that the group will be up of “first rate” people.

He added that discussions are ongoing about potentially elevating White House offices to Cabinet-level positions. He plans on tasking his transition team to determine whether the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Obama-era global health security pandemic office that Trump eliminated, and a separate climate change team that “goes beyond the Environmental Protection Agency” should become Cabinet positions.

“One advantage of being around a long time is you get to know an awful lot of people. In the private sector, in the public sector, people who are committed — first and foremost — are thoroughly honorable,” Biden said about those would look to place throughout his administration.