President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Sunday announced an all-female White House senior communications team, including former Obama White House communications director Jen Psaki as press secretary.
“I am proud to announce today the first senior White House communications team comprised entirely of women. These qualified, experienced communicators bring diverse perspectives to their work and a shared commitment to building this country back better,” Biden said in a statement.
Kate Bedingfield, who served as deputy campaign manager and communications director for the campaign, will be White House communications director.
Pili Tobar, who served as the communications director for coalitions on the campaign, will serve as deputy White House communications director. Karine Jean-Pierre, a senior adviser on the Biden campaign who later served as chief of staff to Harris, will serve as principal deputy press secretary.
Symone Sanders, a senior Biden adviser on the campaign, will serve as a senior adviser and chief spokesperson for the vice president. Ashley Etienne, a senior adviser on the Biden campaign, will serve as communications director for the vice president.
Elizabeth Alexander, a Biden campaign senior adviser, will serve as communications director for first lady Jill Biden.
These seven women, several of whom are women of color, will occupy some of the most visible roles in the administration.
Harris, who will make history as the country’s first female vice president, described the newly-announced team as “experienced, talented, and barrier-shattering.”
“Our country is facing unprecedented challenges — from the coronavirus pandemic to the economic crisis, to the climate crisis, and a long-overdue reckoning over racial injustice. To overcome these challenges, we need to communicate clearly, honestly, and transparently with the American people, and this experienced, talented, and barrier-shattering team will help us do that. These communications professionals express our commitment to building a White House that reflects the very best of our nation,” Harris said in a statement.
Psaki, a former CNN political commentator, was also a State Department spokesperson during the Obama administration, and previously served as deputy White House communications director and deputy White House press secretary. She has worked on three presidential campaigns, including as traveling press secretary for the 2008 Obama-Biden campaign and traveling press secretary and senior adviser for the 2012 campaign, and as deputy press secretary for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign.
Bedingfield worked at the White House under the Obama administration as Biden’s communications director. She previously worked at the Motion Picture Association of America, where she was the vice president of corporate communications. Bedingfield was also the spokeswoman for John Edwards’ 2008 presidential campaign, and the communications director for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s 2008 Senate campaign in New Hampshire.
Tobar previously served as the deputy director for America’s Voice, a group working for immigrant rights. She served as the Hispanic media director for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the national director of Hispanic media and western regional press secretary for the Democratic National Committee, the communications director for Arizona Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego and communications director for the Latino Victory Project.
Jean-Pierre worked for Obama’s and Martin O’Malley’s presidential campaigns and served as a political analyst for NBC and MSNBC. She was chief public affairs officer at MoveOn.org and managed the campaign for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Initiative.
Sanders worked as national press secretary for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during his 2016 presidential campaign. She later joined CNN as a political commentator. Sanders is the former chair of the Coalition of Juvenile Justice Emerging Leaders Committee and is a former member of the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice.
Etienne previously served as communications director and senior adviser to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and was the first woman and person of color to hold the position. Etienne was a special assistant to the President and director of communications for the Cabinet under the Obama administration, and also led communications on Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative.
Alexander previously worked under the Obama administration as Biden’s press secretary. She had served as Biden’s communications director when he was a senator. Alexander worked as a federal prosecutor in the US Attorneys’ offices in Washington, DC, and Alexandria, Virginia. Alexander also served as press secretary for the United Nations Foundation, press secretary to then-Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, communications director for California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, and deputy press secretary for Schumer.
This story has been updated with additional information.