Biden will be able to highlight how the infrastructure plan will help “rebuild our infrastructure, strengthen American manufacturing, and position us to out-compete China,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement Wednesday. As many have noted, it’s finally infrastructure week for real after all of the fake-outs of the Trump years.
”After successful confirmations, he’ll also use this first gathering to empower his deeply qualified, barrier-breaking, historically diverse Cabinet to carry out and be key voices for his agenda as the administration works to defeat the pandemic, turn our economy around and bring the country together,” according to Bates.
But there are things Biden probably won’t have in his first Cabinet meeting. Like a round of performative sucking-up like the one delivered by Mike Pence (“This is the greatest privilege of my life is to serve as vice president to a president who’s keeping his word to the American people”) and Jeff Sessions (“It’s an honor to be able to serve you in that regard and to send the exact right message, and the response is fabulous around the country”) and Tom Price (“What an incredible honor it is to lead the Department of Health and Human Services at this pivotal time under your leadership. I can’t thank you enough for the privilege that you’ve given me, and the leadership you’ve shown”).
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg did express a taste of that kind of excitement about the meeting as it approached—but with a decidedly different message. “I can’t wait,” he said Thursday morning on CNN. “We’re interacting all the time because we’re on lots of interagency video conferences, as you might imagine, whether it’s about COVID or about the infrastructure plan, and whenever I’m looking at that screen, I’m just awed and humbled to be in the company of such amazing people.” People. Not one singular person, but people. This is about teamwork, about getting things done across agencies.
That team includes 25 expected attendees, including confirmed Cabinet members, Vice President Kamala Harris, chief of staff Ron Klain, acting Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, and other senior staff.
Sadly, Biden probably won’t have a big fake movie poster of himself, as Trump did at a January 2019 Cabinet meeting. Although, while I’m generally opposed to April Fool’s Day nonsense, the one prank I would accept is if Biden did have that exact poster, with himself awkwardly cropped over Trump, and Vice President Kamala Harris opened the meeting by doing a send-up of Pence’s sucking up.
They probably have too much class for that, though.