It’s official; After weeks of legal threats and a refusal to concede, President Trump said yesterday that he has directed the General Services Administration to clear the way for a presidential transition of power. That allows President-elect Joe Biden to start building out his cabinet and other key agency positions. WBZ Political Analyst Jon Keller joined Joe Mathieu on Morning Edition today to talk about the transition and what it means for Massachusetts politicians.
Among a list of history-making choices, including Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretaryand Alejandro Mayorkas as head of the Department of Homeland Security, John Kerry will serve in a newly-created position as special presidential envoy for climate on the National Security Council.
“It sure makes a lot of sense,” Keller said about picking the former Secretary of State. “A lot of these picks, it strikes me, are all about hitting the ground running. If you want to get back into the Paris climate deal, and start repairing relationships overseas, John Kerry is a pretty good choice to make that call. These are also all choices that Biden knows won’t rock the boat.”
Is that why Senator Elizabeth Warren hasn’t yet been named for a Cabinet post? “It’s not in her nature not to rock the boat,” Keller said about Warren, who had been floated as a possible choice for Treasury Secretary.
As for other Massachusetts politicians who were on the short list, it looks like both Rep. Stephen Lynch and Mayor Marty Walsh will stay put for now. But Keller says the local perception that Massachusetts produces political leaders ready for the national stage isn’t in line with the political reality of today.
“Ever since JFK, there isn’t an elected official above the level of dogcatcher who doesn’t drift off to sleep at night thinking about how they’d look in the Oval Office. This is what we do here [in Massachusetts],” Keller said. “We aren’t perceived as the ultimate fountain of political talent that we might once have been regarded as many years ago. In fact, to some extent, it’s the opposite; we’re seen as political poison.”
As for President Trump and the transition, Keller expects that he will continue his refusal to concede all the way to Inauguration Day, and likely won’t participate in the event. “I’d be willing to bet you my leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner that he won’t be there.”