President-elect Joe Biden’s office on Tuesday announced the names of members of his presidential transition teams, including the Department of Defense (DoD) team, which includes 15 women. In 2016, Donald Trump appointed only one woman to his DoD transition team.
Transition teams are used to ensure a peaceful transition of power between the presidential administration and the federal authorities after a presidential election. According to a Tuesday press release by the Biden Harris transition team, more than half of the members of the administration’s landing teams are women.
“The President-Elect and the Vice President-Elect are committed to building an administration that looks like America,” the statement said.
Biden’s DoD landing team leader, Kathleen Hicks, was Assistant Undersecretary of State for Strategy, Plans and Forces during the term of former President Barack Obama. Team member Christine Wormuth, director of the RAND International Security and Defense Policy Center, also served the Obama administration as Undersecretary of Defense Policy. Biden’s team also includes retired Four-Star General Michelle Howard, the first woman to serve as Deputy Chief of Staff in the U.S. Armed Forces. In total, Biden’s office has announced 23 members of his DoD transition team.
Trump’s DoD transition team consisted of ten people, including Mira Ricardel, who at the time served as a consultant for the IQ of the federal budget. After Trump took full command of the White House, Ricardel became Deputy National Security Advisor in 2018.
After winning the 2008 presidential election, Obama appointed 44 people to his transitional DOD team, including 15 women, according to information on the Open Secrets website.
Washington Newsday turned to the President-Elect’s office for further comments.
Some of Trump’s comments to and about women were perceived as condescending. After PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor asked Trump a question during a press conference in March, Trump said, “Listen, let me tell you something. Be nice. Do not be threatening. Be kind.”
Prior to the November election, Trump called Acting Vice President Kamala Harris “an insult to our country” during a campaign rally in North Carolina in September.
However, the Trump administration has often placed women in high-profile positions. Currently Trump has two women in his cabinet: Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Trump also employs Kayleigh McEnany as secretary of the White House and both Hope Hicks and Alyssa Farah as assistants to the president.
Trump’s administration has indicated that it would make the transition process difficult for the Biden teams. With votes still being counted in some contested states, Trump has not yet given up on the election. The General Services Administration, which is still waiting to determine an election winner, has not yet granted Biden’s teams access to the White House and other federal buildings to begin the transition process.
Biden said on Tuesday that the transition process is “in full swing” despite the Trump administration’s lack of cooperation.
“The fact that they are unwilling to acknowledge that we have won at this time is not important for our planning or for what we can do until January 20,” Biden told reporters.