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Biden names team to steer U.S. foreign policy in post-Trump era


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Biden names team to steer U.S. foreign policy in post-Trump era

By Trevor Hunnicutt

 

2020-11-23T191914Z_1_LYNXMPEGAM1D2_RTROPTP_4_USA-ELECTION-BLINKEN.JPG

FILE PHOTO: (L-R) U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Secretary of State John Kerry listen as President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki address reporters in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, November 1, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

 

WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on Monday named the key members of his foreign policy team, tapping trusted aide Antony Blinken to head the State Department and take the lead in rebuilding Washington's relationships in Europe and the rest of the world.

 

Biden, who has said he would undo Republican President Donald Trump's "America First" policies, also named Jake Sullivan as his national security adviser and Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations - both with high-level government experience.

 

The 78-year-old Democrat is assembling an administration from his home in Delaware as he prepares to be sworn in on Jan. 20 to lead a country facing its greatest public health crisis in living memory, even as Trump refuses to concede defeat in the Nov. 3 election and blocks the government from providing the support normally given a president-elect.

 

Biden named former U.S. Senator and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry to serve as his special climate envoy. He also is likely to tap former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to become the next treasury secretary, said two Biden allies, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a personnel decision that was not yet public.

 

While Blinken, 58, is not a household name for the secretary of state job, he has held important foreign policy positions in the last two Democratic administrations, including a spell as a deputy secretary of state under President Barack Obama.

 

Along with Sullivan, who was a deputy assistant to Obama and senior policy adviser to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, Blinken has helped Biden formulate a strategy that will include quick outreach to allies who have often been antagonized by Trump, and to demonstrate a willingness to work together on big global problems like the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout.

 

Biden, who was a longtime member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has pledged to rejoin a nuclear deal with Iran if Tehran restores its compliance, return to the Paris climate accord, abandon plans to leave the World Health Organization and end a U.S. rule that bans funding of aid groups that discuss abortion. Each move would reverse Trump's policies and some could take place quickly after the inauguration.

 

The prospect of an American U-turn from Trump's foreign policy is music to the ears of many allies, especially in Europe where there has been unhappiness over Washington's approach toward NATO, trade and relations with Russia.

 

The head of NATO and a top European Union official, in phone calls with Biden on Monday, invited him to rebuild transatlantic ties and meet with Washington's European allies next year.

 

Biden took a step toward reversing Trump's hard-line immigration policies by naming Cuban-born lawyer Alejandro Mayorkas to head the Department of Homeland Security.

 

If confirmed by the Senate, Mayorkas would become the first foreign-born leader of the sprawling department that was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Mayorkas served as its deputy secretary in the Obama administration.

 

CRACKS IN REPUBLICAN SUPPORT

Trump, meanwhile, has been defeated repeatedly in his persistent legal battle to overturn the election results in a string of battleground states and prevent Biden from being sworn in. Trump and his campaign have made unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud.

 

Trump's hopes hung by a thread on Monday as Michigan and Pennsylvania looked to push ahead with certifying that Biden was the winner of both states.

 

The former vice president beat Trump in Michigan by more than 150,000 votes, or almost 3 percentage points, and the election canvassing board is required to validate the count.

 

Norman Shinkle, one of the two Republicans on the four-member Michigan board, has suggested he favors delaying certification because of technical irregularities that may have affected a few hundred votes in one county.

 

The board's other Republican, Aaron Van Langevelde, said repeatedly during a meeting on Monday he saw no indication in the law that the board has an option other than to certify the results submitted to it. "Our duty is very simple, and it's our duty," Van Langevelde said. That could clear the way for the board to move ahead with the certification on a vote of at least 3-1.

 

Monday is also the deadline in Pennsylvania for counties to report their certified tallies to Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, a Democrat. Boockvar likely would then certify the results on behalf of the state in a matter of days. Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes, or just over 1 percentage point.

 

Electors in each state will convene as the Electoral College on Dec. 14 to formally select the next president. Biden won 306 electoral votes, 36 over the 270 threshold needed to win.

 

While most Republicans are either publicly backing Trump's efforts or remaining silent, a growing number are imploring him to concede and assist with the transition to Biden's administration.

 

The U.S. General Services Administration, a federal agency that must sign off on the presidential transition, said it had still not approved hand-off activities to Biden but would brief Congress next week.

 

In an opinion piece on Cincinnati.com on Monday, Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio urged the GSA to provide resources for the Biden transition team. Portman also said there was no evidence now of widespread fraud or irregularities that would change the election results in any state.

 

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt, James Oliphant, Julia Harte, Patricia Zengerle, Susan Heavey and David Morgan; additional reporting by Michael Martina; Writing by Paul Simao; Editing by Scott Malone and Grant McCool)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-11-24
 
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Hey look, Biden picked somebody who is both qualified and has the right experience for the job.   What a difference a competent President makes.

And so the draining of the Trump swamp begins.

I’ll remind you, it was Trump and the GOP Senators, lead by Mitch McConnell that blocked funding to protect this election from foreign interference.   It was Trump spoke in favor of Putin an

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2 minutes ago, TallGuyJohninBKK said:

 

Whatever swamp existed 4 years ago before Trump, he indisputably made it deeper, more toxic and more contrary to the rule of law than anyone who preceded him in modern times.

 

Biden and Co. are going to need a HUGE pump... Hopefully they're up to the odious job.

 

 

You have more faith in politicians than me if you believe they're all pristine and squeaky clean!

 

Just look at how many flaunt the rules they impose on others regarding Covid!

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