Politico

Biden tamps down idea of Sanders or Warren in administration


President-elect Joe Biden said on Tuesday he wanted to keep some of his former progressive rivals in the Senate, further tempering hopes of Sens. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren joining his administration.

Speaking with NBC News’ Lester Holt, Biden said that the two former Democratic presidential candidates were vital to advancing his progressive agenda in Congress and that his administration already had “significant representation among progressives.” Still, he said, “there’s nothing really off the table.”

“Taking someone out of the Senate, taking someone out of the House, particularly a person of consequence, is a really difficult decision that would have to be made,” Biden said. “I have a very ambitious, very progressive agenda. And it’s going to take really strong leaders in the House and Senate to get it done.”

Biden has unveiled his picks for key administration posts over the last few days — a list marked by decades of experience and Ivy League credentials. He picked former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as his Treasury secretary — a post those close to Warren said she’d hoped for. Other administration picks include Ron Klain for chief of staff, Tony Blinken as secretary of State and Jake Sullivan as national security adviser.

Biden did, however, acknowledge that he was open to appointing Republicans to his administration as a sign of unifying the country. His transition team had been vetting Republican candidates for cabinet spots in the lead-up to Election Day.

During his Tuesday interview, Biden also spurned the recent criticisms that he was trying to recreate an Obama White House by appointing seasoned Washington figures. President Donald Trump has completely transformed the political landscape, Biden said, giving his soon-to-be administration a whole new slate of challenges.

“This is not a third Obama term, because we face a totally different world than we faced in the Obama-Biden administration,” the president-elect said.

Biden also said he and Trump had not yet met, though he suggested that Klain and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows might have spoken. Though the Trump administration formally kicked off the presidential transition this week, Trump has continued to refuse to concede the election, tweeting out conspiracy theories of election fraud.

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