Biden cabinet: new start with old hands

The US president-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday announced the first ten members of his cabinet. Six of them are former colleagues from the Obama era, including Tony Blinken, who will be Secretary of State, and Avril Haines, appointed as Director of National Intelligence. Commentators are full of praise for the team's competence and diversity, but also question whether it will be able to make good on Biden's campaign promises.

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El País (ES) /

US democracy strengthened

For El País, Biden's first personnel decisions are a sign of hope:

“The appointment of Antony Blinken as Secretary of State is good news for the restoration of the role of the US in the world, for Europe and for multilateralism. Veteran John Kerry taking charge of climate policy guarantees a turnaround there. ... Also significant is the appointment of women to key positions - Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence service and Janet Yellen heading the treasury - and a Hispanic American, Alejandro Mayorkas, in charge of Homeland Security. ... For now, the resilience of US democracy and the first decisions of the president-elect are reassuring.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Yellen is the best

Commenting in La Stampa, journalist Alan Friedman is delighted at the news that former Fed chief Janet Yellen is to become treasury secretary:

“In the entire history of the United States there has hardly been a treasury secretary as qualified and experienced as this extraordinary woman. You can imagine her as an American Mario Draghi. ... Demanding, progressive, moderate, patient and very, very competent ... In the 1990s, with Clinton in the White House, she was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. From 2014 to 2018 she was the first woman to head the Federal Reserve. She helped put the US economy back on the road to recovery. Now she is called upon to repeat this.”

Polityka (PL) /

Extra points for diversity

Polityka praises the diversity of the cabinet:

“The nominations, which were officially announced on Tuesday, show that the cabinet will reflect the demographic profile of the US's increasingly mosaic society. Some of the nominations are of historical importance - for the first time going to a woman or a representative of the non-white minorities. ... Avril Haines, for example, is the first woman to be appointed Director of National Intelligence.”

Le Temps (CH) /

This won't be enough

Le Temps takes a critical view of the fact that Joe Biden's team includes a number of former members of the Obama administration:

“Since Donald Trump is unlikely to stop leading his successor up a slippery slope and the Democrats will lack the necessary majority in the Senate, a new 'Obama team' will not be enough to really change the situation, particularly as Obama's own talents and rhetorical strengths will be out of the equation. Whether we like it or not, it was the Obama years, among many other factors, that led to the sudden rise of Donald Trump. Joe Biden must make it a priority to be more than just an intermezzo.”