‘America is back’: Biden unveils first cabinet members to ‘reassert’ US as global leader

Alex Woodward
·2-min read
<p>President-elect Joe Biden announces announces national security team at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware</p> (REUTERS)

President-elect Joe Biden announces announces national security team at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware

(REUTERS)

President-elect Joe Biden formally announced his first appointments to his incoming cabinet and senior White House leadership, a national security and foreign policy team “that reflects the fact that America is back" and "ready to lead the world, not retreat from it".

In remarks from Delaware on Tuesday, Mr Biden said his appointments will “confront our adversaries and not reject our allies”.

His appointments include Antony Blinken as secretary of state, Alejandro Mayorkas to run the Department of Homeland Security, Avril Haines as director of National Intelligence, Linda Thomas-Greenfield as the US ambassador to the United Nations, and Jake Sullivan as his national security adviser.

Former secretary of state John Kerry has been tapped for a new role as a “climate envoy”, dedicated to the climate crisis to serve on the national security council, ensuring a dedicated US official for the first time will "have a seat at every table around the world” to address the emergency.

“They embody my core beliefs that America is strongest when it works with its allies,” Mr Biden said. “While this team has unmatched experience and accomplishments, they also reflect the idea that we cannot meet these challenges with old thinking and unchanged habits.”

In talks with world leaders in recent days, Mr Biden said officials were encouraged by his administration’s role in “reasserting" the nation’s “historic role as a global leader”.

Mr Biden said while his appointments have “experience in leadership”, they also bring “fresh perspective”, from which he pledged to be told “what I need to know, not what I want to know”.

His appointments — which include the first woman to lead US intelligence and first Latino to head up the Department of Homeland Security — reunite former officials from Barack Obama’s administration that worked alongside the former vice president. Mr Biden said his appointments “secured some of the most defining national security and diplomatic achievements in recent memory”.

Vice-president-elect Kamala Harris said the appointments display an “unwavering commitment” to human rights and “the rule of law”.

Appointees Blinken, Haines, Mayorkas and Thomas-Greenfield must be confirmed in the currently GOP-controlled Senate before they formally join the Biden cabinet.

In prepared remarks, Mr Biden addressed the Senate: “I hope these outstanding nominees receive a prompt hearing, and that we can work across the aisle in good faith — move forward as a country.”

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