On Sunday night, Bloomberg News and the New York Times reported that Joe Biden plans to name his longtime aide Antony Blinken as secretary of State, one of the most consequential hirings to date by the incoming administration.
Blinken, 58, served as Biden’s national security adviser during his time as vice-president, eventually becoming deputy secretary of State under President Obama from 2015 to 2017. Bloomberg News also reports that
Jake Sullivan, 43, who served as Biden’s national security adviser after Blinken — as well as deputy chief of staff to Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of State — will be named national security adviser. In addition, the Times reports that Biden will name 35-year Foreign Service veteran Linda Thomas-Greenfield as ambassador to the United Nations. The president-elect is also expected to reestablish that role as a Cabinet-level position.
The reported appointments suggest at least a partial return to the foreign-policy vision of President Obama, a shift which should not come as a surprise, considering Biden’s support of multilateral projects and disdain for the isolationism of the Trump administration. In an interview with Bloomberg TV this summer, Blinken described the Democratic candidate’s day-one priorities on foreign policy: “The first thing is we have to dig out from a strategic deficit that President Trump has put us in.” As the Times notes, Blinken has also expressed an interest in “competing with China by choosing multilateral efforts to advance trade, technology investments and human rights — instead of forcing individual nations to choose between the two superpowers’ economies.”
Since he was last in the White House four years ago, Blinken has co-founded a consulting firm with the slogan “Bringing the Situation Room to the Board Room”; has described Joe Biden’s initial approval of the Iraq War as “tough diplomacy”; and appears to have released two songs on Spotify under a moniker that combines his first initial and last name in a nod to Abe Lincoln.
As the Trump White House continues to block the incoming administration, the president-elect is moving forward, with the bulk of his initial Cabinet appointees to be determined on Tuesday, according to Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klain.