The U.S. President-elect Joe Biden formally announced key members of his national security and foreign policy teams on Tuesday. If these nominations are approved by the Senate, several of them would be making history in American politics. Declaring “America is back,” Biden offered his first substantive offering of how he plans on shifting from Trump-era “America First” policies by choosing some of his most important advisers to be Democratic experts.
Hand-picked and led by Joe Biden, the team comprises of a set of diverse and experienced professionals, including several women and people of colour. For the position of the secretary of state, Antony Blinken has been chosen. He has been tied to Biden for some 20 years as he is a veteran foreign policy expert who is highly regarded in Capitol Hill. Alejandro Mayorkas has been picked to serve as Secretary of Homeland Security.
If chosen, the lawyer will be the first Latino and immigrant-serving as DHS Secretary. For the position of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield has been chosen by Biden. Jake Sullivan will be serving as the national security adviser, having previously worked with the Obama Administration as well. Upon approval by the Senate, he will be one of the youngest National Security Advisers that the country has seen in decades.
The Director of National Intelligence will be Avril Haines, who has previously served as the deputy director of the CIA. She is the first woman in American history to hold that post. Lastly, John Kerry, who is the former Secretary of State, will serve as the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, the first to ever sit on the National Security Council. The Senate’s confirmation is not required for Sullivan and Kerry’s positions.
Standing in a theatre in his long-time home of Wilmington, Delaware, Biden said, “Together, these public servants will restore America globally, its global leadership and its moral leadership. It’s a team that reflects the fact that America is back, ready to lead the world, not retreat from it.”
All the nominees are Washington veterans with ties to former President Barack Obama’s administration, signalling that his administration would mark a return to traditional diplomacy, bringing some normalcy after 4 years of President Trump’s tumultuous period in office, whose Cabinet has largely consisted of men, almost all of whom are White. According to Biden, foreign leaders he has spoken to have expressed that they are “looking forward to the United States reasserting its historic role as a global leader.”
Along with his nominees, Mr. Biden also made clear that the pandemic and climate change are seen as issues of national security by him. The president-elect noted that for the first time, “there will be a principal at the National Security Council who can came sure climate change is on the agenda in the situation room.”
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who was also present at the announcement expressed, “President-elect Biden and I know that the moment we walk into the White House, we will inherit a series of unprecedented challenges. These crisis-tested national security and foreign policy leaders have the knowledge and expertise to keep our country safe and restore and advance America’s leadership around the world.”