U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is set to nominate his longtime aide Anthony Blinken as his Secretary of State, according to multiple reports on Sunday.
Blinken served as Deputy Secretary of State between 2015 and 2017, and was an adviser to the former vice president for years. In 2008, he worked on Biden’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, which he lost to former President Barack Obama.
In addition, Bloomberg reported that Jake Sullivan will be Biden’s top pick for national security adviser. Sullivan, who served as Biden’s national security adviser during the Obama administration, was also an aide to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid.
The Biden transition team announced late last week that the President-elect will announce his first cabinet picks on Tuesday. It did not say how many appointments will be announced on Tuesday.
During an interview with ABC on Sunday, Biden’s chief of staff Ron Klain said “You’re gonna see the first cabinet picks this Tuesday.”
Blinken’s job will be to repair ties with the rest of the world, and in particular, to heal badly damaged ties with the continent of Africa.
Since Donald Trump, who still refuses to concede defeat despite losing the presidential election to Joe Biden, became President on January 20, 2017, U.S.-Africa ties have tanked.
From reportedly describing Africa as a ‘shit-hole’ continent, to pursuing the termination of the US Africa command, to pulling out resources from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations security operations in Africa, President Trump during his four years in office relegated Africa to the background.
Trump also viewed Africans as parasites who ‘will not go back to their huts’ once they see the United States of America, according to several reports by the American media.
At the State Department, events usually promoted by the Foreign Press Center on Africa stopped coming or were canceled.
Under the Trump-Pompeo administration Africa stopped being seen as a partner and an ally of the United States.
President Trump himself never traveled to Africa and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also made only a few brief trips there.
Blinken will have to repair ties with Africa, reassure leaders the continent is a strong partner of America, increase business and security ties and change the bad impression that Africans are no longer welcome in the United States.