'This is not a 3rd Obama term,' Biden says amid criticism for choosing a slew of former Obama officials for top White House roles

Oma Seddiq
GettyImages joe biden
President-elect Joe Biden introduces his Cabinet member nominees on November 24. Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images
  • On Tuesday, President-elect Joe Biden told NBC News' Lester Holt that his presidency wouldn't be a "third Obama term."

  • Biden's comments come amid criticism of his recent announcements for top national security and foreign policy positions. Many of the people he's selected worked for President Barack Obama.

  • "We face a totally different world than we faced in the Obama-Biden administration," Biden said. "President Trump has changed the landscape. It's become America first. It's been America alone."

  • Biden is taking heat for some of his picks from not only progressives but also his own campaign staffers who are upset at being left out while ex-Obama administration officials are snatching up key jobs.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

In his first televised interview since the election, President-elect Joe Biden, who is facing criticism over his recent Cabinet picks, said the next four years wouldn't be a repeat of the Obama administration.

On Tuesday, the former vice president introduced some members of his incoming administration's national security and foreign policy teams. Several of his picks worked under President Barack Obama.

"This lineup, those you've selected so far — a lot of familiar faces among them," the NBC News anchor Lester Holt told Biden. "What do you say to those who are wondering if you're trying to create a third Obama term?" 

Biden pushed back on the notion: "This is not a third Obama term," he said.

"We face a totally different world than we faced in the Obama-Biden administration," Biden added. "President Trump has changed the landscape. It's become America first. It's been America alone. We find ourselves in a position where our alliances are being frayed."

Some of Biden's Obama-era selections include former Secretary of State John Kerry as the special presidential envoy for climate, Avril Haines as the director of national intelligence, Alejandro Mayorkas as the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Antony Blinken as secretary of state, and Linda Thomas-Greenfield as the United Nations ambassador. The president-elect has also named a slew of Obama officials to senior White House roles.

"I found people who join the administration in key points that represent the spectrum of the American people as well as the spectrum of the Democratic Party," he said.

Biden's comments come amid pressure from people on both sides of the aisle who fear his selections will simply continue the Obama years.

Progressives are hoping to avoid this scenario. They've launched a petition to block the Obama-era official Bruce Reed from getting a new gig, slamming him as a "deficit hawk" for his previous support for Social Security and Medicare cuts, Axios reported on Tuesday. 

"Biden must not repeat Obama's mistake," the petition against Reed says. It's been backed by the progressive group Justice Democrats and signed by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, among others.

Ocasio-Cortez and Reps.-elect Jamaal Bowman and Mondaire Jones have also called out Biden's rumored candidate for transportation secretary, Rahm Emanuel, the former Chicago mayor and onetime Obama chief of staff.

"It is shameful and concerning that he is even being considered," Ocasio-Cortez said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also chimed in on Biden's announcements and expressed concerns with the next administration in a Fox News interview on Tuesday.

"I know some of these folks, they took a very different view. They lived in a bit of a fantasy world," Pompeo said. "They led from behind; they appeased. I hope they will choose a different course."

Biden has repeatedly stressed that he's seeking to unite the country and bridge political divides. He told Holt he was considered selecting a Republican for a top post, as well as progressive politicians such as Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Announcements for dozens of White House positions are still to come. 

"There's nothing really off the table," Biden said.

Many of Biden's campaign staffers have also grown frustrated with the onslaught of Obama alum joining the administration, Politico reported on Tuesday. His advisors told the outlet that some veteran staffers were "pissed" that they had not been chosen for new jobs while ex-Obama officials have snatched up several positions.

In the wide-ranging NBC News interview, Biden also discussed how he was working with the White House on his transition and said he didn't plan on using the Department of Justice as a "vehicle" to launch investigations into Trump.

Read the original article on Business Insider