WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Biden-Harris transition unveils key national security and foreign policy personnel

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris introduced six new members of their national security team.

Wearing a dark blue suit and a light blue tie, Biden, who spoke for about 13 minutes, indicated that President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy would be discarded under his leadership.

According to him, “America is strongest when it works with its allies.”

Biden introduced his picks, Antony Blinken as Secretary of State; Alejandro Mayorkas as Secretary of Homeland Security; Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence; Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Jake Sullivan as National Security Advisor; and John Kerry as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.

“Today, I am pleased to announce nominations and staff for critical foreign policy and national security positions in my Administration.

“It’s a team that will keep our country and our people safe and secure. And it’s a team that reflects the fact that America is back. 

“Ready to lead the world, not retreat from it. Ready to confront our adversaries, not reject our allies. And ready to stand up for our values. 

“In fact, in calls from world leaders in the weeks since we won this election, I’ve been struck by how much they are looking forward to the United States reasserting its historic role as a global leader,” Biden said.

He said he hoped his nominees that require Senate confirmation “prompt” hearings and approval.

Biden also reacted to the GSA director’s decision to let the formal transition proceed.

“I’m pleased to have received an ascertainment from the GSA,” he said.

Biden’s picks received good reviews in the American media.

What they said:

New York Times“President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Tuesday introduced six of the top officials he has selected to serve as part of his national security team, saying that together they would reinstate the United States as a global leader countering terrorism, extremism, the climate crisis and nuclear proliferation.”

AP: “Biden’s nominees were a clear departure from Trump, whose Cabinet has largely consisted of men, almost all of them white. Biden’s picks included several women and people of color, some of whom would break barriers if confirmed to their new positions.”

CNN: “The president-elect’s new national security and diplomatic team represents a determination to make the nation a shining example of democracy.”

Washington Post“The latest sign that Joe Biden plans to make tackling climate change a priority is his choice for chief climate diplomat. The president-elect is tapping John Kerry, the former secretary of state and the Democratic Party’s 2004 presidential nominee, to be his presidential climate envoy, the campaign announced Monday. Installing the senior statesman into the newly created position gives it gravitas at a time when U.S. credibility abroad on global warming and other issues has waned under President Trump.”

Washington Post“Biden’s choices, including John F. Kerry in a new climate ambassador post, reflected his comfort with international affairs and an intent to signal the international community that a transfer of power is moving forward, even as President Trump refuses to accept his loss at the ballot box.”

David Muir, ABC World News Tonight: “This evening now marks three weeks since the election and tonight, the transition is now officially underway. President-elect Joe Biden acting quickly, introducing today the first six members of his national security and foreign policy team, making historic choices.”

Rachel Scott, ABC World News Tonight: “With the transition finally underway, President-elect Joe Biden today unveiling much of his national security team with a clear message: the era of America First is over and we’re ready to work with our allies again.”

CNBC: “The nominees spoke of the importance of reestablishing America’s moral leadership, championing human rights and strengthening multilateral relationships with allies and democracies around the world.”

Guardian: “Biden is on course to build the most diverse US cabinet, including women and people of colour.”

E&E News: “Jeff Navin, a senior Obama-era Department of Energy official, said Biden is making it clear that low-carbon energy and climate policy will be a priority across all major federal agencies. ‘It makes sense that he’s thinking about international agreements, trade agreements and using diplomacy to push for deeper emissions reductions,’ Navin said. ‘I think it’s safe to say that climate is not merely in the purview of the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.’”

The Grio“President-elect Joe Biden has named veteran diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.N. ambassador to the United Nations and Shuwanza Goff as deputy director of the Office of Legislative Affairs. By choosing two prominent Black women to join his forthcoming administration, Biden is making good on his promise to choose from a diverse pool of candidates.”

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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