ADVERTISEMENT
Biden Names His National Security Nominees
By The Associated Press
WILMINGTON, DE - Declaring "America is back," President-elect Joe Biden introduced his national security team, relying on experts from the Democratic establishment to be some of his most important advisers.

“Together, these public servants will restore America globally, its global leadership and its moral leadership,” Biden said Tuesday from a theater in his longtime home of Wilmington, Delaware. “It’s a team that reflects the fact that America is back, ready to lead the world, not retreat from it.”

The nominees are all Washington veterans with ties to the Obama administration. There are risks to choosing experienced hands from the previous Democratic administration. Besides Republican attacks, progressives fret that Biden is tapping some officials who were too cautious and incremental the last time they held power.

Biden's nominees included several women and people of color, some of whom would break barriers if confirmed to their new positions.

The president-elect’s team includes Antony Blinken, a veteran foreign policy hand well-regarded on Capitol Hill whose ties to Biden go back some 20 years, for secretary of state; lawyer Alejandro Mayorkas to be homeland security secretary; veteran diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; and Obama White House alumnus Jake Sullivan as national security adviser.

Avril Haines, a former deputy director of the CIA, was picked to serve as director of national intelligence, the first woman to hold that post, and former Secretary of State John Kerry will make a curtain call as a special envoy on climate change. Kerry and Sullivan’s position will not require Senate confirmation.

Some Senate Republicans have already expressed antipathy to Biden’s picks as little more than Obama world retreads.

Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican and potential 2024 presidential candidate, argued that Biden is surrounding himself with people who will go soft on China.

Sen. Marco Rubio, another potential White House hopeful, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that will consider Blinken’s nomination, broadly wrote off the early selections.

“Biden’s cabinet picks went to Ivy League schools, have strong resumes, attend all the right conferences & will be polite & orderly caretakers of America’s decline,” Rubio tweeted.

Biden said he tasked them with reasserting global and moral leadership, a clear swipe at Trump, who has resisted many traditional foreign alliances.

Trump, who has debated recently whether to mount another presidential campaign in 2024, appeared to defend his worldview on Tuesday.

“We shouldn’t go away from that — America First,” he said at the annual turkey pardon, a lighthearted pre-Thanksgiving White House tradition.

Haines said she accepted Biden’s nomination knowing that “you value the perspective of the intelligence community, and that you will do so even when what I have to say may be inconvenient or difficult.”

Haines said she has “never shied away from speaking truth to power” and added “that will be my charge as director of national intelligence.”

Biden celebrated the diversity of his picks, offering a particularly poignant tribute to Thomas-Greenfield. The eldest of eight children who grew up in segregated Louisiana, she was the first to graduate from high school and college in her family. The diplomat, in turn, said that with his selections, Biden is achieving much more than a changing of the guard.

“My fellow career diplomats and public servants around the world, I want to say to you, ‘America is back, multilateralism is back, diplomacy is back,’” Thomas-Greenfield said.

Mayorkas, who is Cuban American, also offered a nod to his immigrant upbringing.

“My father and mother brought me to this country to escape communism,” he said. "They cherished our democracy, and were intensely proud to become United States citizens, as was I."

Biden's team now is in contact with all federal agencies, according to a transition official who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe developments that have not been announced.

At the Pentagon, Kash Patel, chief of staff to the acting secretary of defense, is heading the department’s transition work. A transition task force has been assembled, led by Tom Muir, head of the Pentagon office that provides administrative and management services to all Defense Department facilities in the Washington area.

Muir said the first meeting with Biden's team was held virtually on Tuesday morning and that he expected daily meetings to come — some virtually and some in person. He said normal accommodations for the Biden team have been made, including provision of briefing materials, video-teleconferencing capabilities, and office space inside the Pentagon.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar also said his agency is working to get briefing materials to Biden’s aides immediately and pledged a “professional, cooperative and collaborative” transition.


Published 05:02 AM, Wednesday Nov. 25, 2020
Updated 06:39 PM, Wednesday Nov. 25, 2020

Weather

 
ADVERTISEMENT

Most Commented Stories

ADVERTISEMENT