Op-Eds Opinion

Fitzgerald: What President Biden’s cabinet picks say about him

By Nora Fitzgerald
@nora.fitzg on Instagram

It is no question that Joe Biden’s presidency is beginning during one of the most polarizing times in recent American history. Between the pandemic, the insurrection at the Capitol, and tensions rising on either side of the aisle, many Americans need a leader to give them hope. To understand what kind of leader Biden will be, it’s best to see who he chooses to surround himself with.   

Any president’s cabinet picks are some of the most anticipated decisions after an election. Since the primaries, President Biden has been adamant that his cabinet would “look like America”, meaning it would reflect the diversity of our country. 

So far, Anthony Blinken, Janet Yellen, Gen. Lloyd Austin, and Pete Buttigieg have been confirmed by the Senate as Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of Transportation, respectively. It is worth noting that Janet Yellen is now the first woman to serve as Treasury Secretary, Austin will be the first black man to lead the Pentagon, and Buttigieg is the first out LGBT secretary in our country’s history. 

With a cabinet that is more representative of what our country looks like, many Americans are hopeful that the next four years will bring positive and meaningful progress. Skeptics, though, are concerned about the implications of these cabinet decisions.

Some see Biden’s actions as an indicator that his presidency will bring more left-leaning ideals than we saw during the Obama administration. Biden has already signed dozens of executive orders, 17 of which he signed on his first day. He has also revoked 31 of Trump’s executive orders he issued during his term. This is typical, as many new presidents make significant changes to their predecessors’ administrative orders. While this isn’t anything groundbreaking, these orders do reveal the president’s intentions regarding issues such as immigration reform, health care, the economy, the pandemic and racial equity.

One of the most pressing issues right now is the pandemic response. Although, the transition from Trump’s administration has not been a smooth one. Vice President Harris made a statement on Sunday explaining that there was virtually no national strategy for vaccine distribution when their administration took over. “In many ways, we are starting from scratch on an issue that has been raging for almost an entire year,” she said (Axios on HBO). 

President Biden is scheduled to meet with the Group of Seven nations (G7) on Friday to discuss the pandemic, China, and other international issues. 

It’s hard to predict how these next four years will shape our democracy, although Biden states that his ultimate goal is to bring unity to a much-divided country. It is my hope that we will see our country begin to heal through acknowledging systemic flaws and actively working towards a better future.

Photo: The Associated Press

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