Biden Taps Blinken to Reshape US Foreign Policy in Post-Trump Era
US President-elect Joe Biden on Monday named the key members of his foreign policy team, tapping trusted aide Antony Blinken to head the State Department and take the lead in reshaping Washington’s relationships in Europe and the rest of the world.
Democrat Biden, who has vowed to undo Republican President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies, also named Jake Sullivan as his next national security adviser and Linda Thomas-Greenfield as US ambassador to the United Nations — both with high-level government experience.
Thomas-Greenfield held a senior diplomatic post under President Barack Obama while Sullivan was a deputy assistant to Obama and senior policy adviser to 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Biden is assembling an administration and preparing to be sworn in on Jan. 20 to lead a country facing its greatest public health crisis in living memory, even as Trump had not conceded and is blocking the government from providing the support normally given a president-elect.
Biden chose lawyer Alejandro Mayorkas to head the Department of Homeland Security, entrusting the Cuban immigrant to help reverse Trump’s hardline immigration policies.
If confirmed by the US Senate, Mayorkas would become the first foreign-born leader of the sprawling department that was created in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Mayorkas served as its deputy secretary in the Obama administration.
And in another sign that his administration will take a fresh approach to climate change, Biden announced that John Kerry, a former US senator and the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, would become his special envoy for the climate.
While Blinken, 58, is not a household name for the secretary of state job, he has held important foreign policy positions in the last two Democratic administrations, including a spell as a deputy secretary of state under Obama.
Along with Sullivan, he has helped Biden formulate a strategy that will include quick outreach to allies who have been frustrated by Trump, and to demonstrate a willingness to work together on big global problems like the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout.
Biden has vowed to rejoin a nuclear deal with Iran if Tehran restores its compliance, return to the Paris climate accord, abandon plans to leave the World Health Organization and end a US rule that bans funding of aid groups that promote abortion. Each move would reverse Trump’s policies and some could take place quickly after Biden takes office.
Working in his home state of Delaware, Biden is expected to name more Cabinet members later this week.
Biden said last week he had chosen a Treasury secretary, and would announce the person near the Nov. 26 Thanksgiving holiday. Former Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen is said to be the top candidate.