Joe Biden's inner circle: Who will be the key figures in his presidential team?

Joe Biden has won the US presidency and the Democrat's aides have privately hinted he plans to build the most diverse Cabinet in American history. Mr Biden is fond of saying the government should "look like the country" it governs, and his team have suggested that several women and people of colour are in line for top posts under a Biden presidency.  Given Mr Biden's age – he will be 78 by the time he takes office – the Democrat is also under pressure to ensure a younger generation of rising political talent features in his government picks.  Mr Biden has promised to be a president for all Americans, vowing to put an end to the country's deeply polarised society. With that in mind, some have suggested Mr Biden may also include moderate Republicans within his administration, particularly those who have endorsed him during the presidential campaign.  But if he is to unite his party behind him, he may have to include leading progressive figures like Bernie Sanders within his administration, a move that could turn away moderate conservatives.  With so many competing considerations, and the expectation of a historic Cabinet line-up, who is Mr Biden likely to appoint? Here are the runners and riders for some of the key posts.  Secretary of State Susan Rice, a former national security adviser, has been touted as a potential appointee to the country's top diplomatic role. Ms Rice has significant foreign policy experience and knows Mr Biden well from their time together in the Obama administration and could also be offered a post at Homeland Security or the Pentagon.  Chris Coons, who occupies Mr Biden's former Delaware senate seat and is one of his closest confidantes in Washington, has also been tipped for the Secretary of State role.  Joe Biden is set to appoint John Kerry, the former US Secretary of State, as his special envoy on climate change, The Telegraph understands. Mr Kerry, who has been vocal on the issue of climate change, is expected to be appointed to represent the United States at international events including the UK's COP26 conference next year. He would work under the Secretary of State, the equivalent of the UK’s Foreign Secretary. UN ambassador   Pete Buttigieg, a former Democratic presidential candidate, may be in line for the post of UN ambassador. Mr Buttigieg, a young but talented politician, shares Mr Biden's desire to increase America's standing on the global stage. However, Mr Buttigieg has no experience of federal government – his most recent position was at the mayor of South Bend, a small town in Indiana. The 38-year-old, who previously served as a US naval intelligence officer in Afghanistan, is also reportedly being considered for Veterans Affairs Secretary.  Treasury Secretary Elizabeth Warren, the liberal firebrand senator for Massachusetts, has reportedly been considered for the role of Treasury Secretary. A former Harvard law professor, she is a leading expert in US bankruptcy law. Ms Warren burnished her progressive credentials in the aftermath of the financial crisis by bringing big banks to task and leading the reform of the industry, including helping to set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. However she is deeply unpopular with Wall Street – and among many Republicans – and could face difficulties being confirmed by the Senate. Attorney General Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general, who served in the Obama administration is thought to be in consideration to head up the Justice Department. Ms Yates served as Barack Obama's deputy at the department before becoming acting attorney general in the early days of the Trump administration. She was fired by Mr Trump less than two weeks in after failing to defend the president's Muslim travel ban in court. Ms Yates stands a good chance of being confirmed by the US Senate – she was confirmed by a large majority to her previous position.  Ms Warren is also reportedly being considered for the role of Attorney General. So too is Stacey Abrams, a rising star in the Democratic party who came close to becoming Georgia's governor in 2018 but who lacks experience at a national level.  Former candidates Pete Buttigieg (left) and Bernie Sanders (centre) are both thought to be in contention for Cabinet posts Credit: Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg Labor Secretary Bernie Sanders, the former Democratic presidential candidate, is reportedly angling for the role of Labor Secretary. Mr Sanders, who is seen as the leader of the country's progressive movement, has been instrumental in getting liberal voters to back Mr Biden. Many now expect a cabinet post in return for his loyalty, with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the influential liberal New York Congresswoman, telling CNN it is "extremely important" that Mr Biden offer the Vermont senator and other progressive leaders Cabinet positions. Read more: A look at Joe Biden's family tree Veterans Affairs Senator Tammy Duckworth, who was considered as a potential running mate for Mr B

Joe Biden's inner circle: Who will be the key figures in his presidential team?

Joe Biden has won the US presidency and the Democrat's aides have privately hinted he plans to build the most diverse Cabinet in American history.

Mr Biden is fond of saying the government should "look like the country" it governs, and his team have suggested that several women and people of colour are in line for top posts under a Biden presidency. 

Given Mr Biden's age – he will be 78 by the time he takes office – the Democrat is also under pressure to ensure a younger generation of rising political talent features in his government picks. 

Mr Biden has promised to be a president for all Americans, vowing to put an end to the country's deeply polarised society. With that in mind, some have suggested Mr Biden may also include moderate Republicans within his administration, particularly those who have endorsed him during the presidential campaign. 

But if he is to unite his party behind him, he may have to include leading progressive figures like Bernie Sanders within his administration, a move that could turn away moderate conservatives. 

With so many competing considerations, and the expectation of a historic Cabinet line-up, who is Mr Biden likely to appoint? Here are the runners and riders for some of the key posts. 

Secretary of State

Susan Rice, a former national security adviser, has been touted as a potential appointee to the country's top diplomatic role. Ms Rice has significant foreign policy experience and knows Mr Biden well from their time together in the Obama administration and could also be offered a post at Homeland Security or the Pentagon. 

Chris Coons, who occupies Mr Biden's former Delaware senate seat and is one of his closest confidantes in Washington, has also been tipped for the Secretary of State role. 

Joe Biden is set to appoint John Kerry, the former US Secretary of State, as his special envoy on climate change, The Telegraph understands.

Mr Kerry, who has been vocal on the issue of climate change, is expected to be appointed to represent the United States at international events including the UK's COP26 conference next year.

He would work under the Secretary of State, the equivalent of the UK’s Foreign Secretary.

UN ambassador  

Pete Buttigieg, a former Democratic presidential candidate, may be in line for the post of UN ambassador. Mr Buttigieg, a young but talented politician, shares Mr Biden's desire to increase America's standing on the global stage. However, Mr Buttigieg has no experience of federal government – his most recent position was at the mayor of South Bend, a small town in Indiana. The 38-year-old, who previously served as a US naval intelligence officer in Afghanistan, is also reportedly being considered for Veterans Affairs Secretary. 

Treasury Secretary

Elizabeth Warren, the liberal firebrand senator for Massachusetts, has reportedly been considered for the role of Treasury Secretary. A former Harvard law professor, she is a leading expert in US bankruptcy law. Ms Warren burnished her progressive credentials in the aftermath of the financial crisis by bringing big banks to task and leading the reform of the industry, including helping to set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. However she is deeply unpopular with Wall Street – and among many Republicans – and could face difficulties being confirmed by the Senate.

Attorney General

Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general, who served in the Obama administration is thought to be in consideration to head up the Justice Department. Ms Yates served as Barack Obama's deputy at the department before becoming acting attorney general in the early days of the Trump administration. She was fired by Mr Trump less than two weeks in after failing to defend the president's Muslim travel ban in court. Ms Yates stands a good chance of being confirmed by the US Senate – she was confirmed by a large majority to her previous position. 

Ms Warren is also reportedly being considered for the role of Attorney General. So too is Stacey Abrams, a rising star in the Democratic party who came close to becoming Georgia's governor in 2018 but who lacks experience at a national level. 

Former candidates Pete Buttigieg (left) and Bernie Sanders (centre) are both thought to be in contention for Cabinet posts Credit: Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg

Labor Secretary

Bernie Sanders, the former Democratic presidential candidate, is reportedly angling for the role of Labor Secretary. Mr Sanders, who is seen as the leader of the country's progressive movement, has been instrumental in getting liberal voters to back Mr Biden. Many now expect a cabinet post in return for his loyalty, with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the influential liberal New York Congresswoman, telling CNN it is "extremely important" that Mr Biden offer the Vermont senator and other progressive leaders Cabinet positions.

Read more: A look at Joe Biden's family tree

Veterans Affairs

Senator Tammy Duckworth, who was considered as a potential running mate for Mr Biden, is reportedly under consideration for a top position at the Department of Veterans Affairs. As a retired US lieutenant colonel and a double amputee, Ms Duckworth could be the perfect fit for a department designed to meet the needs of former troops. 

Read more: Joe Biden's policies: what are the President-elect's views on Covid, immigration and foreign policy? 

Housing and Urban Development

Eric Garcetti, the Mayor of Los Angeles, has been tipped as a potential pick for Housing Secretary as has California congresswoman Karen Bass. Mr Biden has repeatedly espoused his belief that America's racial inequalities cannot be fixed without making it easier for African Americans to buy homes, and it is likely he will appoint an individual who he believes can bring reform to the sector. Both Mr Garcetti and Ms Bass are also reportedly being considered for roles at the Department for Transport and the Department of Health and Human services respectively.

2020 US election results map in full

Communications Director

Kate Bedingfield, the former deputy campaign manager and communications director, joined Mr Biden’s office in 2015. She is anticipated to fulfil a similar role under his presidency after she first gained his trust five years ago. 

National Security Adviser 

Tony Blinken previously worked as the deputy secretary of state, where he advised Biden on foreign policies under the Obama administration. Therefore, he is expected to step up as the new national security adviser, or even the secretary of state, though other names such as Chris Coons and Susan Rice are also favourites for the latter role. 

Potential Policy Advisor

The man who has not left Biden’s side throughout the entirety of his campaign trail, Bruce Reed, is tipped to become his Policy Advisor. Reed is already an established member of the president-elect’s inner circle and is almost certainly going to partake in a role in the near future of the West Wing.

White House Chief of Staff

Rumours suggest that Mr Biden will reinstate Ron Klain, the former chief of staff, who worked under Biden throughout the Obama administration. During this time, Klain organised the government’s response to the Ebola outbreak, which makes him a stand-out choice to the president-elect as he plans to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. 

Domestic Policy Council

Another trusted member of the former vice-presidential office, Biden’s former national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, is set to step into the shoes of a role in the Domestic Policy Council after reports suggest he would prefer to work in a domestic-based position.