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US Elections 2020

Biden picks French speaker as Secretary of State as president-elect considers cabinet

From L-R, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, former French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius and then U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken hold a news conference following a meeting with members of the anti-Islamic State coalition in Paris, France, June 2, 2015.
From L-R, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, former French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius and then U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken hold a news conference following a meeting with members of the anti-Islamic State coalition in Paris, France, June 2, 2015. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
Text by: Jan van der Made with RFI
3 min

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.

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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. 

Thorny issues

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.

(with AP)

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