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43 days. President-elect Joe Biden takes office in a month and half. In the meantime, his transition team is working to staff the executive branch.
As my colleague Russell Berman points out, it’s an intense project, one that “even in normal times, no modern presidential transition team has come close to finishing by Inauguration Day.” And those teams weren’t having to do it remotely.
Among the thousands of positions that the incoming administration needs to fill are those in the Cabinet. So far, Biden has nominated just a third of his core team. Today, he selected General Lloyd Austin for secretary of defense, announcing that choice in an essay written for The Atlantic.
Joe Biden explains his decision to nominate Austin in an essay for The Atlantic. “He is a true and tested soldier and leader,” the president-elect writes. “I hope that Congress will grant a waiver to Secretary-designate Austin, just as Congress did for Secretary Jim Mattis.”
That position is no job for a general, Eliot A. Cohen argues. “For secretary of defense, Americans should want someone of broad experience and perspective in civilian life, not the product of an all-absorbing institution,” he writes, citing Mattis as an exception.
Meanwhile, the virtual staffing of the executive branch may prove a Herculean challenge. The team must navigate both security and health concerns, Russell warns.
One question, answered: The movie studio WarnerMedia is streaming its 2021 films on HBO Max. What does that mean for the future of in-person moviegoing?