Meet the candidates for Joe Biden's presidential inner circle

Rozina Sabur
who biden inner circle key candidates figures - Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America
who biden inner circle key candidates figures - Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America

If Joe Biden wins the White House this November, the Democratic presidential candidate'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 would be 78 by the time he took 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. 

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.

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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. 

Buttigieg and Sanders shake hands as Sanders looks on at a Democratic primary debate in February - Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg
Buttigieg and Sanders shake hands as Sanders looks on at a Democratic primary debate in February - 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.

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. 

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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.