At 1st Cabinet meeting, Biden says team 'looks like America'

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President Joe Biden speaks during a Cabinet meeting in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, April 1, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden's first Cabinet meeting looked and felt different from those of his predecessor.

Biden's full Cabinet met Thursday in the spacious White House East Room, not the comparatively cramped West Wing room that bears the group's name, to allow for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Many smaller tables were pushed together to create one gigantic square. Department secretaries and other participants wore face masks. And the portion of the meeting opened to press coverage lacked the over-the-top, hail-to-the chief tributes that came to define Donald Trump's Cabinet meetings.

Biden immediately pointed out the diversity of his Cabinet, which includes the first Black defense secretary in Lloyd Austin, the first openly gay Cabinet member in Pete Buttigieg at transportation, the first Native American secretary in Deb Halaand at Interior and the first female treasury secretary in Janet Yellen, among others.

Vice President Kamala Harris is the first woman, Black person and Indian American elected to her office.

Biden declared the group “looks like America" and added, "That's what we promised we were going to do, and we've done it.”

Trump's Cabinet was largely white and male.

Thursday's meeting came a week after the Senate confirmed the final Cabinet member and a day after Biden released his infrastructure plan, which was a major item on the agenda.