Biden's first major cabinet pick, like nearly every president I can recall, is Secretary of State, and that job appears to be headed to Biden campaign foreign policy adviser and former Obama deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken.
Antony J. Blinken, a defender of global alliances and President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s closest foreign policy adviser, is expected to be nominated for secretary of state, a job in which he will try to coalesce skeptical international partners into a new competition with China, according to people close to the process.
Mr. Blinken, 58, a former deputy secretary of state under President Barack Obama, began his career at the State Department during the Clinton administration. His extensive foreign policy credentials are expected to help calm American diplomats and global leaders alike after four years of the Trump administration’s ricocheting strategies and nationalist swaggering.
Mr. Biden is also expected to name another close aide, Jake Sullivan, as national security adviser, according to a person familiar with the process. Mr. Sullivan, 43, succeeded Mr. Blinken as Vice President Biden’s national security adviser, and served as the head of policy planning at the State Department under Hillary Clinton, becoming her closest strategic adviser.
Together, Mr. Blinken and Mr. Sullivan, good friends with a common worldview, have become Mr. Biden’s brain trust and often his voice on foreign policy matters. And they led the attack on President Trump’s use of “America First” as a guiding principle, saying it only isolated the United States and created opportunities and vacuums for its adversaries.
Mr. Biden plans to announce their selections even as Mr. Trump continues his ineffectual push to overturn the election. A growing number of Republicans are calling on Mr. Trump to concede and begin the official transition process.
Mr. Biden is also expected to name Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a 35-year veteran of the Foreign Service who has served in diplomatic posts around the world, as his ambassador to the United Nations, according to two people with knowledge of the process. Mr. Biden will also restore the post to cabinet-level status after Mr. Trump downgraded it, giving Ms. Thomas-Greenfield, who is Black, a seat on his National Security Council. The selections of Mr. Blinken and Mr. Sullivan were reported earlier by Bloomberg News, and Ms. Thomas-Greenfield’s nomination was reported by Axios.
Mr. Blinken has been at Mr. Biden’s side for nearly 20 years, including as his top aide on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and later as his national security adviser when he was vice president. In that role, Mr. Blinken helped develop the American response to political upheaval and instability across the Middle East, with mixed results in Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Libya.
But chief among his new priorities will be to re-establish the United States as a trusted ally that is ready to rejoin global agreements and institutions — including the Paris climate accord, the Iran nuclear deal and the World Health Organization — that were jettisoned by Mr. Trump.
“Simply put, the big problems that we face as a country and as a planet, whether it’s climate change, whether it’s a pandemic, whether it’s the spread of bad weapons — to state the obvious, none of these have unilateral solutions,” Mr. Blinken said at a forum at the Hudson Institute in July. “Even a country as powerful as the United States can’t handle them alone.”
Remember when Cabinet officials weren't raving lunatics who made news weekly by destroying America's reputation and alienating our allies? Welcome to the calm feeling of having an actually qualified career foreign policy wonk and diplomat as Secretary of State.
I know, weird, huh?
Other picks expected this week: our old friend former Fed chair Janet Yellen for Treasury, former Obama deputy DHS Secretary Alajandro Mayorkas as Secretary of Homeland Security and former CIA deputy Avril Haines to be the first woman to lead the Pentagon as Secretary of Defense.
I look forward to not writing about Tony Blinken, Janet Yellen, Alejandro Moyorkas and Avril Haines on this blog, because he doesn't do stupid things like the last crew did, so I won't need tags for them.