When Joe Biden becomes the President of the United States tomorrow he may very well have the most Jewish Cabinet members and senior officials of any Presidential administration in history.
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At least 10 have been nominated to key positions. Five of the twenty-two cabinet-level positions will be held by Jews.
While not an official cabinet member, Ronald Klain will be President Biden’s chief of staff. In that role, he will join Vice President Kamal Harris in official cabinet meetings. And Harris herself is married to Doug Emhoff, a Jewish lawyer.
Klain, 59, was born in Indianapolis to Jewish parents. He already worked for Joe Biden when he was the Vice President as his chief of staff as his during the current president elect’s first two years in that office. And Klain had also served a Vice President Al Gore’s chief of staff from 1995 to 1999. Ron Klain got his start in politics as a Supreme Court clerk and served as a senior advisor on Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
Anthony Blinken, who served as a deputy secretary of state under President Barack Obama, is set to be the next U.S. Secretary of State. A close foreign policy advisor to President-Elect Joe Biden, Blinken is a 58-year-old Jewish step-son of a Holocaust survivor.
Even before the election last year Mr. Blinken spoke out on certain issues around the world and in doing so has given the American public a glimpse of how a Joe Biden administration will have a different foreign policy from the current one. One area which he was stressed on social media has been human rights abuses, tweeting about such crimes being committed in countries like Ethiopia and even close allies of the U.S. Like Egypt.
Born in New York Antony Blinken moved to France with his mother at the age of nine after his parents divorced. He holds a B. A from Harvard and a law degree from Columbia University.
He served on the National Security Council staff under President Clinton from 1994 to 2001. Mr. Blinken was the Deputy Assistant to President Obama and National Security Advisor to Vice President Biden from 2009 to 2013.
Janet Yellen is about to become America’s first woman Treasury Secretary. The 74-year-old career economist and Brooklyn native from a Polish Jewish family is no stranger to such firsts as she only recently completed a term serving as the first woman Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Her appointment breaks the Republican tradition of giving the position to people from Wall Street, such as the current Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin. Democrats have generally appointed people with more government experience such as President Obama’s first Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
Former federal judge Merrick Garland. The grandson of Jewish Russian immigrants will be Joe Biden’s first Attorney General. Justice Garland gained notoriety in 2016 when President Obama appointed him to fill the seat of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. But the Republican Senate majority at the time decided not to even hold a confirmation hearing for Garland because there were only nine months to go until the presidential elections that year.
Merrick Garland most recently served as the chief judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a court whose influence over federal policy and national security matters has made it a proving ground for potential Supreme Court justices. He stepped down from that post in 2020 after serving for seven years.
Alejandro Mayorkas will be the next Secretary of Homeland Security. He was born in Cuba in 1959 and came to America with his family a year later. Mayorkas’ father was a Sephardic Jew and his mother was a Holocaust survivor. He previously served as the deputy Secretary of Homeland Security under President Obama.
Avril Haines will be the next Director of National Intelligence. A Manhattan native, her mother was Jewish. She will be the first woman to hold this cabinet-level position, having previously served as Deputy National Security Advisor under President Obama.