Joe Biden plans to announce that he has elected Antony Blinken as Secretary of State and Linda Thomas-Greenfield as his candidate for ambassador to the UN, according to a person close to the president’s elected team.
Blinken is a long-standing Biden trustee who served as No. 2 at the State Department and as Assistant National Security Adviser in President Barack Obama’s administration, where Biden served as Vice President.
Blinken’s appointment made another longtime assistant to Biden, Jake Sullivan, the top candidate for his US national security adviser, the person said. Bloomberg News previously reported the expected nomination.
Biden’s transition team declined to comment and Blinken did not respond to a request for comment.
Blinken, 58, has long appreciated the view that the United States must take an active leadership role in the world, cooperate with allies, or see that role be filled by countries like China with opposing interests.
“As much of a burden as it sometimes seems to play … the alternative when it comes to our interests and the lives of Americans is much worse,” he said in an interview with Reuters in October.
People who are familiar with his leadership style describe Blinken as a “diplomat of the diplomat”, thoughtful and relatively soft, but well versed in foreign policy.
After Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election to President Donald Trump, Blinken became one of the founders of WestExec Advisors, a Washington consulting firm that advises companies on geopolitical risks.
After practicing law briefly, he entered politics in the late 1980s and helped Democrat Michael Dukaki’s presidential campaign raise money.
He joined Democratic President Bill Clinton’s White House as a speechwriter and became one of his national security assistants.
Under Obama, Blinken worked to limit most American combat deployments to a small number of troops. But he told Reuters last year that Trump had “cleansed US credibility” with his withdrawal of US troops in Syria in 2019 that left Kurdish US allies in the lurch in their fight against Islamic State.
On the campaign track, Blinken was one of Biden’s closest advisers, even in matters that went beyond foreign policy.
That trust is a product of the years that Blinken worked with Biden as an adviser to his failed presidential campaign in 2008, as a national security adviser early in his vice presidency and as a Democratic chief of staff for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden was chairman.
The appointment of Thomas-Greenfield, a black woman who held the highest diplomatic post in former President Barack Obama’s administration, was intended to restore morale and help fulfill Biden’s promise to elect a versatile cabinet, Axios, who first broke the news, reported. .
Thomas-Greenfield is the “leading challenger” for the job, CNN reported.
Thomas-Greenfield served as the US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa under Obama, from 2013 to 2017. She led US policy towards sub-Saharan Africa during tumultuous events such as the massive Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
After leaving the State Department, Thomas-Greenfield took a senior position at former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s Global Strategy Company, Albright Stonebridge Group. She is currently on leave from the company, according to her website.
( Jowharwith REUTERS)