FixGovJust how varied is president Biden’s prospective Cabinet?Kathryn Dunn TenpasWednesday, January 13, 2021
Despite the truncated change brought ~ above by chairman Trump’s refusal to concede the election and also Emily Murphy, administrator the the basic Services Administration, additionally refusing to certify the transition for virtually three weeks—the delay has not impacted the pace of President-elect Biden’s appointments. In fact, the Biden change is well ahead that his seven predecessors. Together of Jan. 7, the change had publicly figured out the peak 15 room members. The perfect of these very visible appointments gives the opportunity to compare the family member diversity (in terms of race/ethnicity, gender, and age) that the Biden room to his six predecessors at the start of their administrations.

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Kathryn Dunn Tenpas

Nonresident senior Fellow - administration Studies

The prominence of this exercise is highlighted by the president-elect’s pledge to develop a Cabinet that looked prefer America. President-elect Biden stated, “I’m walking to store my commitment that the administration, both in the White House and outside in the Cabinet, is going come look like the country.” In addition, the pivotal duty of black color voters in the southern Carolina primary and also the an essential Georgia presidential and also Senate races, has attracted a good deal of attention to President-elect Biden’s selection of black appointees. The course, over there are countless influential appointments throughout the executive, management branch and within the White home Office that remain. This 15 appointments are simply a extremely visible subset that the nearly 1,200 Senate-confirmed positions that will be filled end the course of the Biden administration.


The calculations listed below include just those Cabinet location in the heat of presidential succession. This is an important clarification since Cabinet size can vary together presidents pick and choose additional “Cabinet-level” members like the small business administrator, U.N. Representative, ecological Protection agency administrator, and also others. Limiting the analysis to only those Cabinet location in the heat of presidential sequence provides more of one “apples to apples” comparison over time. Note that the total number of these positions has actually increased slightly—from 13 during the Reagan administration, bumping up to 14 v the addition of the Veterans to work Department for Presidents George H.W. Shrub through George W. Bush, and also climbing come the current total of 15 v the enhancement of the room of countryside Security. Provided the variation, the findings are presented in portion terms. Finally, the calculations assume that the 15 people whom President-elect Biden has announced will, in fact, it is in confirmed.

Minorities in the Cabinet

Although President-elect Biden express his desire to appoint a diverse Cabinet, the comparison come his six predecessors shows the he tied with President Obama in regards to non-white appointments, while president Clinton gone beyond both top top a portion basis. It must be provided that in life numbers, all three appointed 6 nonwhite members to their Cabinet. Like Biden, but around 27 year earlier, President-elect invoice Clinton pledged to develop a federal government that looked favor America and also fulfilled this pledge v the appointments that Ron Brown (Commerce), Hazel O’Leary (Energy), Jesse Brown (Veterans Affairs), Michael Espy (Agriculture), Federico Pena (Transportation) and also Henry Cisneros (Housing and Urban Development).

Women in the Cabinet

President-elect Biden appointed an ext women to the just arrived Cabinet 보다 his six predecessors. They encompass five nominees: the historic appointment of Janet Yellen to the Treasury Department, the groundbreaking meeting of the very first Native American, Deb Haaland, come Interior, Gina Raimondo come Commerce, Jennifer Granholm to Energy and also Marcia Fudge come Housing and also Urban Development. This appointments surpassed those of the Obama administration, which had actually the 2nd highest variety of female appointments—Kathleen Sebelius to Health and also Human Services, Janet Napolitano come the department of homeland Security, Hilda Solis to the labor Department and also Hillary Clinton come the State Department. Despite women have actually made good strides because Ronald Reagan to be president, they still represent just one-third of cabinet nominees.


Generally speaking, cabinet secretaries are commonly selected after esteemed, long-established careers (political and also otherwise), developing the expectation that they will most likely be over 50 year old. Going earlier to Reagan, the average age of incoming cabinet secretaries to be 57. The Biden team of nominees is just a little bit older on typical at 59, when Pete Buttigieg, the Biden nominee for Transportation, is technically the youngest nominee in ~ 38. That is precious noting the he transforms 39 the day before inauguration and will it is in the same period as Clinton agriculture Secretary, Mike Espy was when he was nominated.

While President-elect Biden is top top par through his autonomous predecessors in terms of non-white appointments, the data in and also of themselves carry out not highlight the vital significance that the countless historic “firsts” in this set of appointments. They incorporate appointing the first woman, Janet Yellen, to it is in secretary the the Treasury, the very first Native American, Deb Haaland, to be secretary that the Interior, the first Hispanic, Alejandro Mayorkas, to be secretary in ~ the room of countryside Security, and also the an initial Black person, Lloyd Austin, to be secretary of Defense. This momentous appointments, together with a record-setting number of women in the Cabinet, represent a major breakthrough in presidential appointments.

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Based top top these beforehand Cabinet appointments and also other non-Cabinet, an elderly appointments (e.g., U.S. Profession representative, small business administrator, White residence counsel), it appears clear that the Biden team is on monitor to rally the most diverse set of Senate-confirmed appointees in American history.