More women, different ethnicities and more people in color: the new American cabinet under Joe Biden will be more diverse than ever. The composition of the cabinet is very similar to former President Trumps team.
Biden chose carefully on sex, origin and experience. Already in his victory speech on November 7, he said that his cabinet will become “the most diverse in history”.
The President also took this into account when selecting the staff members. More than half of them are women. And the new presidents communications department is even run entirely by women. Not entirely unimportant: the first step Biden took towards greater diversity was the choice to have Kamala Harris on his side: the first female American vice president, with an Indian mother and a Jamaican father.
An overview of a number of new ministers under Biden:
Minister for the Interior
Deb Haaland (60) becomes the Prime Minister of the Interior of indigenous descent. Haaland is part of the Laguna Pueblo tribe. Until recently, she was a member of the House of Representatives.
In the United States, the Home Secretary deals with federal states, national parks and affairs with indigenous Americans. Haaland, as Minister, must also contribute to the Green Agenda of Biden. Tribal leaders and progressive Democrats lobbied for Haaland in the weeks before the nomination.
According to CNN, she was chosen, among other things, because she “fought her entire career for all Americans, including tribes, rural communities and coloured communities”.
Minister for Transport
Pete Buttigieg (39) has been appointed the new Minister of Transport. He will be the first cabinet member to be openly homosexual. Buttigieg was an opponent of Biden in the race to the presidential election. He won the primary in the state of Iowa. Last March he withdrew, after which he supported Biden.
Buttigieg has never had a position in the federal government before. Before applying for the presidency, he was mayor of his hometown South Bend. As Minister of Transport, he will focus on infrastructure, something President Biden wants to invest billions in. When Buttigieg was still campaigning for the presidency, he often talked about infrastructure.
(Under) Minister for Health and Social Affairs
Xavier Becerra (62) has been nominated as Minister of Health. As the son of Mexican parents, he will be the first Latino to hold this position. Becerra was Attorney General in the state of California and succeeded Kamala Harris. As Minister of Health, he is given the heavy duty to lead the country during the coronapandemic, which has taken a great grip on the United States.
In addition to Becerra, Rachel Levine (64) is appointed Deputy Minister. She becomes the first transgender person in an American cabinet. Levine is a pediatrician and health minister in the state of Pennsylvania. In addition, Levine is chairman of a partnership of American health organizations. In the past she published on medical cannabis use and health care for the lhbti community.
In a statement, Biden wrote that Levine “brings with it the stable leadership and the essential expertise needed to bring people through this pandemic. Regardless of their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. It is a historic and highly qualified choice to help guide our governments health policy”.
Minister for Defence
For the first time in the history of the United States, a black man will occupy the position of Secretary of Defense. Biden has appointed Lloyd Austin (67). Austin is retired general and has had a long military career. For example, he was commander of the United States Central Command, led the US forces in Iraq and coordinated the withdrawal of the last military.
Austin has said that he wants to get rid of the transgender ban in the army, which former President Trump instituted. “If you are fit and fit to serve, and if you can achieve and maintain all standards, you must be able to serve in the army. You can expect me to always support that,” says Austin. When the ban is lifted then is not clear.
Although a military man normally needs to be out of service for at least seven years to run a ministry, exceptions can be made.
Minister for Finance
President Biden elected Janet Yellen (74) as Minister of Finance. This is the first time a woman has held that position. Yellen has a lot of experience in the financial world. From 2014 to 2018 she wasChairman of the Federal Reserve System, the US Central Bank. Trump decided not to extend her term.
As President, Biden wants to minimise the economic consequences of the coronacrisis and, where necessary, take additional support measures. Yellen supports that idea. “The best thing we can do is act big,” she said to CNN. First of all, the focus should be on those who have been hit hardest, such as minority groups.