U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has begun naming members of his new Cabinet, as well as other top-level administration officials. Biden has pledged to choose a Cabinet that reflects the diversity of the American population. His selections will be scrutinized by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and must win confirmation in a narrowly controlled Senate, whose majority party will be determined by two Georgia Senate runoffs in January. Here are Biden’s cabinet members selections so far.
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Secretary of State
Blinken was deputy secretary of state during the Obama administration and has close ties with Biden. A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Law School, Blinken, 58, has long served in foreign policy positions during Democratic administrations, including as a member of the National Security Council during the Clinton administration and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration. He was also staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden was chair of the panel, and later was then-Vice President Biden’s national security adviser.
Secretary of Homeland Security
Mayorkas is a former deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and will be the first Latino and immigrant nominated to head the agency. Born in Havana, Cuba, Mayorkas, 60, came to the United States as a political refugee with his family when he was a child. Following a career as a lawyer, he joined the Obama administration in 2009 as director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency, where he implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, granting protection to immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children.
United Nations Ambassador
Thomas-Greenfield is a 35-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service who has served on four continents. She was Obama’s top diplomat on Africa from 2013 to 2017, leading U.S. policy in sub-Saharan Africa during the West African Ebola outbreak. After leaving the State Department, Thomas-Greenfield took a senior leadership position at former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s global strategy company. Biden plans to elevate the position of U.N. ambassador to Cabinet-level.
Special Envoy for Climate
Kerry is a prominent and longtime figure in the Democratic Party — a former secretary of state in the Obama administration; a former senator from Massachusetts for more than 25 years; and the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004. The special envoy for climate is not a Cabinet position, but Kerry will sit on the National Security Council, the first time the NSC will include an official dedicated to climate change. Kerry tweeted after the announcement of his selection, “America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is.”
Director of National Intelligence
Haines is a former deputy director of the CIA and a former deputy national security adviser in the Obama administration. She will be the first woman nominated to lead the U.S. intelligence community. Haines, 51, is a lawyer and has previously worked with Biden while serving on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations as deputy chief counsel when Biden was the committee’s chairman. After leaving the Obama administration in 2017, she held several posts at Columbia University.
National Security Adviser
Cabinet Member Sullivan was Biden’s national security adviser during the Obama administration. He was also deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. At age 43, Sullivan will be one of the youngest people to serve in that role in decades, according to the Biden transition team. (VOA)