An ex-Bush aide called Sanders, a potential history-maker, ‘one of those people who … you really gotta keep up.’
President-elect Joe Biden has the distinction of winning the White House with Sen. Kamala Harris, the first woman vice president and first person of color elected to that office. As whispers about the slated staffing plans for what may be the most diverse cabinet in history start to louden, a report about another key role is exciting D.C. circles.
Symone Sanders, who was a senior adviser to the Biden-Harris campaign, is seen as a potential candidate for the role of White House press secretary.
Politico is reporting that Sanders and Kate Bedingfield, deputy campaign manager in charge of communications and a longtime Biden aide, are on the “inside track” to respectively become the next White House press secretary and White House communications director.
If Sanders is chosen for the position, she would be the first African American to serve in the role.
Andrew T. Hatcher, a former journalist and California state official among the founders of 100 Black Men of America, was associate press secretary under President John F. Kennedy. But an African American has never officially had the job of being “at the podium.”
“She’s lightning-fast smart, one of those people who, whether you’re in just conversation or sparring, you really gotta keep up,” Ed Gillespie, a former White House aide to President George W. Bush, told Politico. “She is always a half-step ahead, if not a full step ahead.”
Gillespie met Sanders while the two were fellows at Harvard.
Sanders has been a television commentator since 2016 when she provided insight — especially into the Black community — during the early days of the Trump presidency. She was highly sought after by many of the 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls before she cast her lot with Biden.
In her new book, No, You Shut Up: Speaking Truth to Power and Reclaiming America, Sanders explains why she has been vocal about her career goals.
“It’s like me saying, ‘One day I wanna be White House press secretary!’ There. I said it,” Sanders wrote. “Everyone says don’t tell people your dreams because it’ll kill them. No! You have to express them — you have to give them oxygen in order to let them breathe and grow and become something real. They’re not real if you’ve never told anyone about them!”
There are a few other possibilities. according to Axios, which notes that there are several other women under consideration for the role, including the possibility of choosing a “current television personality.”
Joe Lockhart, who served as press secretary during President Bill Clinton‘s administration, recently wrote for CNN that the person at the podium for the Biden White House will have to restore public trust there because Trump’s appointees “have promised the truth and delivered everything but.”
“The dishonesty from this President and his press secretaries — all four of them — has us where we are today,” Lockhart wrote. “Truth now comes in two varieties: Republican and Democratic. This is shaking the foundation of our democracy.”
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