24 November 2020 - Biden's Cabinet picks make history
Joe Biden picks first women and first Latino for key cabinet roles
David Smith, Julian Borger (The Guardian, 23/11/2020)
Joe Biden, the US president-elect, has shown his determination to speed past Donald Trump’s flailing attempts to block the transition by naming leaders of his foreign policy and national security team.
The president-elect put faith in experience on Monday by announcing he intends to nominate Tony Blinken for secretary of state, Jake Sullivan for national security adviser and John Kerry for “climate tsar”, each signalling a return to the multilateralism of the Obama era.
Biden also picked Alejandro Mayorkas, who, if confirmed, would become the first Latino and migrant to be homeland security secretary; Avril Haines for director of national intelligence, who would be the first woman in that role; and Linda Thomas-Greenfield for ambassador to the United Nations.
With John Kerry Pick, Biden Selects a ‘Climate Envoy’ With Stature
Lisa Friedman (The New York Times, 23/11/2020)
When John Kerry served as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state, he helped steer the negotiation of the Paris Agreement on climate change, locking down commitments from nearly 200 nations — including his own — to begin to reverse the dangerous warming of the planet.
Now his diplomatic task may be even tougher.
On Monday, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. said he would name Mr. Kerry his special presidential envoy for climate, creating a new cabinet-level position. In that role, Mr. Kerry will need to convince skeptical global leaders — burned by the Trump administration’s hostility toward climate science and its rejection of the 2015 Paris Agreement — that the United States not only is prepared to resume its leadership role but will also stay the course, regardless of the Biden administration’s future.
Why Biden's secretary of state pick tells us a lot about his priorities as president
Chris Cillizza (CNN, 23/11/2020)
Joe Biden's decision to name Antony Blinken as his secretary of state is a telling pick that reveals what the President-elect views as his most urgent priorities in the wake of Donald Trump's four years in office -- and the sort of people he will entrust with accomplishing those goals.
Let's start with Biden's decision to name his secretary of state as his first Cabinet pick. There's no set order to these things, of course, but it is absolutely purposeful and therefore noteworthy that Biden is not only leading his Cabinet announcements with the nation's top diplomat but also that he is doing it so early in his transition.
Can Joe Biden's transition team become a progressive administration?
Emily Tamkin (The New Statesman, 23/11/2020)
President-elect Joe Biden is not yet in office, but his choice of team is already garnering both compliments and condemnation.
Biden and his vice-president-elect, Kamala Harris, have released details of who will staff the transition. These are the people with whom Biden and Harris are working to ensure a smooth start once they take office in January (a process being hampered by Trump administration officials’ refusal to cooperate). The list includes seasoned diplomats, professors and experienced ex-officials – experts in matters of governance, in other words, which many noted was a welcome change from the Trump administration.