San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition
Team chosen by Biden represents sharp policy shift
WASHINGTON — Presidentelect Joe Biden on Monday tapped Obama administration veterans for top national security positions, signaling a stark shift from the Trump administration’s “America First” policies that disparaged international alliances, career diplomats and other veteran government officials.
The six picks, including former Secretary of State John Kerry, mark a return to a more traditional approach to America’s relations with the rest of the world and reflect Biden’s campaign promises to have his Cabinet reflect the diversity of America.
In choosing foreign policy veterans, Biden appears to be seeking to upend Trump’s war on the socalled “deep state” that saw an exodus of senior and midlevel career officials from government, notably from the ranks of the State Department and National Security Council, including some who were fired for voicing opposition to the president’s moves.
Biden will nominate his longtime adviser Antony Blinken to be secretary of state, lawyer Alejandro Mayorkas to be homeland security secretary and Linda ThomasGreenfield to be ambassador to the United Nations. Avril Haines, a former deputy director of the CIA, will be nominated as director of national intelligence, the first woman to hold that post.
The incoming president will also appoint Jake Sullivan to be his national security adviser and Kerry to be his climate change envoy. Those posts do not require Senate confirmation.
The choices reflect Biden’s emphasis on developing a diverse team with ThomasGreenfield, a Black woman, at the helm of the U. S. Mission to the United Nations, and Mayorkas, a Cuban-American lawyer who will be the first Latino to lead Homeland Security.
ThomasGreenfield previously served in highlevel State Department positions and Mayorkas was a deputy Homeland Security secretary under Obama.
They “are experienced, crisis-tested leaders who are ready to hit the ground running on day one,” the transition said in a statement. “These officials will start working immediately to rebuild our institutions, renew and reimagine American leadership to keep Americans safe at home and abroad, and address the defining challenges of our time — from infectious disease, to terrorism, nuclear proliferation, cyber threats, and climate change.”
Mayorkas, who was born in Havana, attended UC Berkeley and served as an assistant United States attorney in the Central District of California, specializing in whitecollar crime, according to the transition statement. He became the youngest U. S. attorney in the country. Under the Obama administration, Mayorkas was a primary architect of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program
In making the announcements, Biden moved forward with plans to fill out his administration even as Trump refuses to concede defeat in the Nov. 3 election.