Joe Biden’s spokesman Andrew Bates called the Axios column speculating on Biden cabinet picks, including that the former Vice President was considering Jamie Dimon for Treasury, “laughable speculation,” likening it to fantasy football.
“Biden camp on Axios piece: ‘This is like fantasy football for politics, and no one who actually works on this campaign and is engaged in getting Joe Biden elected has the time to play. It is laughable speculation and should only be treated as such,’ Natasha Korecki reported.
Biden camp on Axios piece: "This is like fantasy football for politics, and no one who actually works on this campaign and is engaged in getting Joe Biden elected has the time to play. It is laughable speculation and should only be treated as such." https://t.co/WHJueTe0H5
— Natasha Korecki (@natashakorecki) March 9, 2020
The fuss is about an Axios on HBO column in which Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen reported on Joe Biden’s “secret governing plan,” citing “Joe Biden confidants” considering both Jamie Dimon and Elizabeth Warren for Treasury Secretary. Soon, Jamie Dimon was trending on Twitter and people were not pleased.
They wrote,”Biden wants known, trusted people around him — many from the Obama years.” Which sounds find and dandy, until the Jamie Dimon drop.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren as Treasury secretary could help unite the party.
Jamie Dimon — chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, and mentioned over the years as a potential presidential candidate — would also be considered for Treasury.
Anne Finucane, vice chairman of Bank of America, is another possibility for Treasury.
Axios noted that “campaign officials say the name game isn’t where Biden’s head is — he knows he has major primary and general-election fights ahead. Officials point out they don’t yet have a transition — and haven’t run a process that would surface new talent, like Dr. Steven Chu, the Nobel Prize physicist who was Obama’s first secretary of energy.”
Even before the Biden camp disputed this, it made no sense. No one says they are considering both Elizabeth Warren and Jamie Dimon for the same job. They represent two very disparate approaches to the job, and two very different sets of values.
I wasn’t alone in side-eyeing the Jamie Dimon claim:
Axios story of a potential Biden cabinet bizarre. In what world would someone have Warren and Jamie Dimon on the same list to be Treasury Secretary. My guess is whoever spoke to Axios is not in the loop. A loop may well not even exist yet. pic.twitter.com/Af0KbWFkny
— Tom Wright (@thomaswright08) March 9, 2020
Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief of Mother Jones, noted that Dimon just had emergency heart surgery, which indeed was reported just several days ago.
Dimon also underwent treatment for throat cancer in 2014.
This list is bizarre/peak Axios
Also Jamie Diamond just had emergency heart surgery https://t.co/tSHSiwTtHE
— Clara Jeffery (@ClaraJeffery) March 9, 2020
Perhaps a confidant was putting together a list of people they thought could restore the country to steadier times, and trying to signal to Wall Street that they wouldn’t necessarily be an enemy. (Weird that Democrats have to always make those overtures when the stock market keeps cratering under Republican presidents.) But without names and with a renouncement, it should be taken with a grain of salt at this point.
Axios noted that the “confidant” said Biden was considering a handful of candidates for VP, one of whom is Senator Kamala Harris, which matches up with his own comments. But if she isn’t on the ticket, she’s in line for Attorney General, which is only common sense.
Biden was the underdog going into Super Tuesday, where he suddenly leapt forward in a “comeback” that surprised everyone, most of all the press. With Biden now surging in polls, leading in delegates and bursting at the seams with important endorsements, it makes sense that his team would be tossing around names. Everyone who’s interested in politics is doing the same thing.
But that is very different than the serious process of vetting people for important jobs. Should a sane competent person win in 2020, the people they chose will have to bring our country back from the brink to which Trump’s undermining of our institutions has brought us.
Furthermore, the Democratic primary is still ongoing. One step at a time, people.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.