Former Vice President Joe Biden, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, smiles during an primary night rally in the Baldwin Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Tuesday, March 3, 2020.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
WASHINGTON — The last pieces are in place for the announcement of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s vice presidential running mate. Biden has reportedly made his choice and informed top aides about it, and an announcement could come as early as Tuesday afternoon.
In Wilmington, Delaware, the Biden campaign has assembled a diverse team of nine campaign pros who will serve as the top aides to the as-yet-unannounced vice presidential pick.
Most are familiar faces in Bidenland: Veteran Democratic message crafter Liz Allen will serve as the VP nominee’s communications director, while former Obama White House advance aides Ryan Montoya and Evan Glover will handle her scheduling and advance.
Former NBC News analyst and Obama White House alum Karine Jean-Pierre will serve as chief of staff for the VP pick. Policy issues will be overseen by Amanda Perez, who most recently was the policy director for New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s presidential campaign.
In addition to staff for Biden’s running mate, two aides have also been tapped to assist the running mate’s spouse: Sheila Nix, a longtime chief of staff to Dr. Jill Biden, and Gina Lee, a former Obama White House aide who has spent the last three years at the Biden Foundation.
Elsewhere in the Democratic political ecosystem, Biden surrogates and fundraising committees are gearing up to blanket the airwaves with both a charm offensive to promote the pick and a zone defense against what they anticipate will be an immediate onslaught of negative attacks from the Trump campaign.
On the offensive front, Unite the Country, a prominent Biden-backing super PAC has reportedly prepared two sets of video ads, one for each of the women widely believed to be the most likely choices: California Sen. Kamala Harris and former national security advisor Susan Rice.
Meanwhile, several of the nation’s most visible women’s groups are ready and waiting to defend Biden’s running mate against attacks they know are coming.
In a letter sent last week to news organizations, leaders of several major women’s groups urged reporters and editors covering the vice presidential pick to consider how their coverage could feed stereotypes about women leaders, and especially about women of color. Both Harris and Rice are Black.
For example, focusing on a woman’s looks, on her past romantic relationships, or on the ethnic heritage of a woman of color, they wrote, are all areas where harmful stereotypes can seep into news coverage consumed by voters. Signatories include former Obama White House advisor Valerie Jarrett and Cecile Richards, who was president of Planned Parenthood from 2006-18.
But while the big coalitions are busy preparing for the harsh media spotlight that will doubtless land on whomever Biden chooses, in Delaware on Monday night, preparations were underway for a different kind of spotlight.
At around midnight Monday, reporters at the stately Hotel du Pont in Wilmington noticed workers setting up a stage and lights in the hotel ballroom. They also noticed that some of the event companies doing the work were ones the Biden campaign has previously hired.
The Biden campaign declined to comment Tuesday on the event set-up and whether it was related to the vice presidential announcement. As of noon, there was no official scheduling guidance on any Tuesday events for Biden.