Ben Franklin Room
February 4, 2021
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Good afternoon. Today I get to say something that brings me tremendous happiness: President Biden, Vice President Harris, welcome to the State Department.
For more than two decades, I’ve had the privilege of watching President Biden at work. I’ve seen his commitment to the American people, his expertise in foreign policy, his steadfast belief in diplomacy, and his rock-solid support for our diplomats and development experts. I’ve seen him on the Hill, in the Oval Office, in distant world capitals from Baghdad to Bagram, Paris to Pretoria, and visiting our troops, visiting our diplomats, visiting all the men and women representing this country.
And I can say without fear of contradiction that in the history of the presidency, no one has brought as much foreign policy experience to the job as Joe Biden. Wherever he goes, he’s been a champion for American leadership and a defender of American values. And in Kamala Harris he has a Vice President, we have a Vice President, with a long track record of standing up for the security of the American people and an abiding commitment to using diplomacy to advance our interests and defend our values around the world.
At this moment of unprecedented global challenge, it’s more important than ever that the United States show up and lead, because the world simply doesn’t organize itself to solve big problems, and the well-being of the American people hangs in the balance. We need diplomacy to get the pandemic under control worldwide, to save American lives and livelihoods. We need diplomacy to address the climate crisis, to protect communities across our country. We need diplomacy to check the rise of authoritarianism, to prevent the spread of dangerous weapons, to shore up democracy, to defend human rights – all of which makes the world more stable and free, and all of which protects the security and prosperity of the American people.
Foreign policy is domestic policy, and because our strength at home determines our strength in the world, domestic policy is foreign policy too. President Biden and Vice President Harris know this better than anyone. That’s why they believe so strongly in the work that we do at the State Department. And they have made it clear that the first question we must ask ourselves here at State is: How will this benefit our fellow Americans? How will this policy answer their needs? How will this outreach reflect their values? How will this initiative make their lives just a little bit better?
We’re going to hold ourselves to that standard every step of the way. President Biden and Vice President Harris have come here today at the very start of their administration to make sure we know that we have their support, and that means a great deal to all of the men and women of the State Department. We will do our best, Mr. President, Madam Vice President, to make you proud.
And with that, it is my pleasure to introduce the President of the United States, Joe Biden.