Biden picks French speaker as Secretary of State as president-elect considers cabinet
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US President-elect Joe Biden is expected to nominate Antony Blinken as secretary of state, according to multiple people familiar with the Biden team's planning.
Blinken, 58, served as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration and has close ties with Biden.
If nominated and confirmed, he would be a leading force in the incoming administration’s bid to reframe the U.S. relationship with the rest of the world after four years in which President Donald Trump questioned longtime alliances.
Blinken was born on April 16, 1962. He went to school in New York City until 1971, when he moved with his mother and her new husband, attorney Samuel Pisar, to Paris where he attended the bilingual École Jeannine Manuel in the 15th Arrondissement.
Tony Blinken is one of the finest public servants I’ve ever known. Brilliant, thoughtful, honest and experienced-really a splendid choice.https://t.co/i41ZHVzK8Q— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) November 23, 2020
In nominating Blinken, Biden would sidestep potentially thorny issues that could have affected Senate confirmation for two other candidates on his short list to be America’s top diplomat: Susan Rice and Sen. Chris Coons.
Rice would have faced significant GOP opposition and likely rejection in the Senate.
She has long been a target of Republicans, for among other reasons, statements she made after the deadly 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya.
Coons’ departure from the Senate would have come as other Democratic senators are being considered for administrative posts and the party is hoping to win back the Senate. Control hangs on the result of two runoff elections in Georgia in January.
Biden is likely to name his Cabinet picks in tranches, with groups of nominees focused on a specific top area, like the economy, national security or public health, being announced at once.
Advisers to the president-elect’s transition have said they’ll make their first Cabinet announcements on Tuesday.
Blinken recently participated in a national security briefing with Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and has weighed in publicly on notable foreign policy issues in Egypt and Ethiopia.
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