To aid readers in their personal transition back to a world in which most important news stories do not involve grave threats to our democracy, petty insults, shameless grifters, or some combination of the three, we will be providing brief updates on Joe Biden and his confoundingly conventional daily activities.
What Joe Biden Did: On Monday, the President-elect named his first Cabinet picks, announcing a diverse slate of nominees to lead his foreign-policy and national-security teams. All six held senior roles in the Obama administration. Here, the full list:
Secretary of State: Antony Blinken, who served as Biden’s national-security adviser when he was vice-president and eventually became deputy secretary of State under Obama.
National-Security Adviser: Jake Sullivan, who succeeded Blinken as Biden’s national-security adviser when he was VP. Sullivan also served as deputy chief of staff to Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of State.
Director of National Intelligence: Avril Haines, a former top CIA official and deputy national-security adviser.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary: Alejandro Mayorkas, a former deputy secretary at DHS under Obama.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations: Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a career Foreign Service official who served as the top U.S. diplomat overseeing African affairs during the Obama administration.
Special Presidential Envoy on Climate: John Kerry, who was secretary of State in Obama’s second term and helped negotiate the Paris climate deal, which Biden hopes to rejoin.
Norms Broken: Well, none, really. But if they are confirmed, Haines would be the first woman to oversee the U.S. intelligence community, and Mayorkas would be the first Latino and first immigrant to lead the Department of Homeland Security (he is a Cuban immigrant who came to the U.S. as a political refugee).
Kerry will sit on the National Security Council, which, the Biden-Harris presidential transition notes, “marks the first time that the NSC will include an official dedicated to climate change.”
Biden also plans to restore a norm by making the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. a Cabinet-level position. While Nikki Haley, Trump’s first ambassador to the U.N., had Cabinet rank, her successor, Kelly Craft, does not.
Who’s Complaining About This: FoxNews.com notes that Jake Sullivan “acknowledged to the House Intelligence Committee that he had told reporters in 2016 that then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign could have ties to Russia.” Or as a RedState.com headline puts it: “Joe Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan Was Up to His Eyebrows in the Clinton Email Scandal and in Pushing the Russia Hoax.”
Say It Trumpy: Biden’s first Cabinet picks are very strong on national security and wind energy. Only the Best People!!!