With Joseph R. Biden Jr leading in crucial battleground states, his advisers and allies have reportedly geared up their transition planning for the White House.
Some, especially those overseeing the coronavirus response, have already began to discuss hiring in critical roles, with the first senior officials in a potential Biden White House possibly named as early as next week, reports The New York Times.
Democrat candidate Biden is now on brink of victory with 264 electoral votes in bag. While the incumbent has so far got 214 electoral votes, far behind from the front runner.
In Wilmington and Washington, Biden’s advisers and allies are ramping up their conversations about who might fill critical posts, both in the West Wing and across the agencies, guided heavily by Biden’s plan to assemble what would be the most diverse cabinet in history.
The behind-the-scenes activity underscored that even as Biden publicly offered a disciplined message about counting every vote and refrained from claiming victory, he was already mapping out a quick start in office as the nation faces a worsening pandemic and a damaged economy.
Biden, who ran from Day 1 on a message of bringing the country together, is said to be interested in making a bipartisan gesture as he plans a prospective government after a divisive election whose results President Trump has tried to undermine.
He is looking to fill out his possible White House staff first, with cabinet posts not expected to be announced until around Thanksgiving, according to more than a half-dozen people familiar with the planning process who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the transition.
Biden’s team quietly began raising money for his transition operation in May and has raised at least $7 million to pay for its efforts. The Biden camp has prepared for multiple scenarios in case Donald Trump refused to concede and his administration would not participate in a transition.
As coronavirus infections hit new highs, Biden’s aides are planning for the first critical transition decisions to focus on health care and addressing the pandemic, the central theme of his campaign in the final months.
They have assembled an internal group of roughly two dozen health policy and technology experts to look at the development and delivery of a vaccine, improving health data and securing supply chains, among other issues.
If Biden wins finally, he is expected to initially focus on filling top posts at the White House, including chief of staff, the most powerful single staff position. Ron Klain, his former chief of staff as vice president, who served as the White House Ebola response coordinator under Obama, is seen to have the inside track for that job, though others are still reportedly under serious consideration.