President-elect Joe Biden is expected to nominate Tony Blinken as his secretary of state on Tuesday, his first step in reversing President Trump’s “America first” approach to foreign policy.
Blinken, 58, was then-President Barack Obama’s deputy secretary of state from 2015 to 2017, the department’s second in command, and Obama’s deputy national security adviser from 2013 to 2015.
But Blinken is a longtime aide of Biden’s too. Blinken was the two-term vice president’s national security adviser from 2009 to 2013. The pair first worked together when the diplomat was a Democratic staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Biden was the panel’s chairman from 2001 to 2003, and again from January 2007 until he became vice president two years later.
Blinken’s selection, among Biden’s first Cabinet picks, was first reported by Bloomberg and the New York Times. The decision signals a return to pre-President Trump foreign policy posture. Biden has already promised to re-enter the Paris climate accord and the World Health Organization on his first day in office.
Bloomberg also reported Jake Sullivan, an ex-Hillary Clinton staffer, was frontrunner to become Biden’s national security adviser.
Sullivan, 43, became Biden’s national security adviser in 2013 after Clinton stepped down as secretary of state. He had been her deputy chief of staff and planning director at the State Department, having advised both the former first lady and Obama during the 2008 election cycle. He returned to the trail for Clinton’s 2016 Democratic presidential campaign, serving as her chief foreign policy adviser. He had previously taken a lead role in negotiating the Iran nuclear deal.
Ron Klain, Biden’s incoming White House chief of staff, foreshadowed the appointments Sunday morning.
“You’re going to see the first of the president-elect cabinet appointments on Tuesday of this week,” Klain told ABC News. “But if you want to know what cabinet agencies they are or who’s going to be those cabinet agencies, you’ll have to wait for the president-elect, He’ll say that himself on Tuesday.”