US President-elect Joe Biden has introduced veteran diplomats and policymakers who will make up his national security and foreign policy team, saying: “America is back, ready to lead the world.”
Biden, 78, at an event in his home town of Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday, November 24, 2020, presented his choices for secretary of state, national security adviser, homeland security secretary, intelligence chief, UN ambassador, and climate change envoy.
If confirmed, Avril Haines will be the first female director of national intelligence and Alejandro Mayorkas the first Latino homeland security boss.
Mr Biden presented six key figures on Tuesday:
- Antony Blinken, Secretary of state. Mr Blinken said the US would soon “with equal measures of humility and confidence” restore its relationships with other countries
- John Kerry, Climate change envoy. He was one of the leading architects of the Paris climate agreement, from which President Trump withdrew. Mr Kerry said the world must “come together to end the climate crisis”
- Avril Haines, Director of national intelligence. Mr Biden said: “I picked a professional… a fierce advocate for telling the truth”.
- Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of homeland security. Mr Mayorkas said the department had “a noble mission, to help keep us safe and to advance our proud history as a country of welcome”
- Jake Sullivan, White House national security adviser. Mr Sullivan praised his boss, saying he had taught him much about statecraft, but also “most importantly about human nature”
- Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US ambassador to the UN. She said she brought her southern Louisiana roots to her job, calling it “a cajun spin” on “gumbo diplomacy”
One choice that is expected but has not been announced yet is former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen as treasury secretary
“It is a team that will keep our country and our people safe and secure,” Biden said as the six men and women stood behind him wearing face-masks on the stage of the Queen Theatre.
“It is a team that reflects the fact that America is back, ready to lead the world, not retreat from it.”
Biden said that after he is inaugurated on January 20 and Donald Trump leaves the White House, the US will “once again sit at the head of the table, ready to confront our adversaries and not reject our allies.
“These public servants will restore America’s global leadership and moral leadership,” the former vice president said in a jab at Mr Trump’s go-it-alone “America First” policies.
Biden’s remarks came shortly after Trump suffered further setbacks in his unprecedented effort to overturn the results of an American presidential election with unsubstantiated claims of fraud.