Biden's emerging Cabinet signals a return to diplomacy and process

David Knowles
·Editor

As the names of members of President-elect Joe Biden’s diverse Cabinet have begun to emerge, the U.S. is poised to make a sharp departure from the Trump administration’s confrontational approach to foreign policy. In selecting veteran, tight-knit officials who prize diplomacy and process over the disruptive brinksmanship of the last four years, Biden is looking to return the U.S. to a leadership role in world affairs.

“These individuals are equally as experienced and crisis-tested as they are innovative and imaginative,” Biden said in a Monday statement about his selections. “Their accomplishments in diplomacy are unmatched, but they also reflect the idea that we cannot meet the profound challenges of this new moment with old thinking and unchanged habits — or without diversity of background and perspective. It’s why I’ve selected them.”

Here is a look at the Cabinet-level officials Biden has identified so far.

Secretary of state

United States Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken attends a press conference at the Embassy of the United States of America in Baghdad, Iraq on September 14, 2016. (Getty Images)
Antony Blinken at a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad in 2016. (Getty Images)

Biden will tap Antony Blinken as his secretary of state. A speechwriter for former President Bill Clinton on matters of foreign policy, Blinken later worked as part of Biden’s vice presidential staff and served as deputy national security adviser and deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration.

Blinken is seen as something of a polar opposite to President Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo. The Democratic pick is considered a centrist who sometimes advocates for interventionist foreign policy.

National security adviser

Jake Sullivan, who was senior policy advisor to Hillary Clinton during her 2016 run for president on Friday June 09, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Jake Sullivan, who was senior policy adviser to Hillary Clinton during her 2016 run for president. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Already a domestic policy adviser to Biden, Jake Sullivan will be tapped to serve in a foreign policy role as national security adviser. He held the same position during former President Barack Obama’s second term. Before that, he was deputy chief of staff to Hillary Clinton when she served as secretary of state.

In 2013 he helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump and Pompeo exited in 2018 and which Biden has said he hopes to rejoin.

Climate change envoy

Former Secretary of State John Kerry at a campaign office for Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, in Rock Hill, S.C., Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Former Secretary of State John Kerry at a Biden campaign office in Rock Hill, S.C., in February. (Gerald Herbert/AP)

Former Secretary of State John Kerry will return to government in a Cabinet-level position on the National Security Council that, before he assumes it, never existed before: climate change envoy.

“This marks the first time that the NSC will include an official dedicated to climate change, reflecting the president-elect’s commitment to addressing climate change as an urgent national security issue,” the Biden transition team said in a statement.

Ambassador to the United Nations

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, assistant secretary of state for African Affairs, speaks in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, May 31, 2016. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, then assistant secretary of state for African affairs, in San Francisco in 2016. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A career diplomat who was fired by Trump in 2017 after serving as assistant secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs during the Obama administration, Linda Thomas-Greenfield is set to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. She has been a leading advocate for increasing racial diversity at the State Department.

Director of national intelligence

Avril Haines, former deputy national security advisor and former deputy director of the CIA, testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee January 14, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Avril Haines, former deputy national security adviser and former deputy director of the CIA, testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Jan. 14. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Avril Haines is Biden’s pick to be his director of national intelligence. She comes to the position with ample experience, having served as a national security lawyer and deputy CIA director in the Obama administration, and she would be the first woman to hold the job designed to coordinate U.S. intelligence agencies.

Biden grew impressed with Haines from their work on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2007 to 2008. Biden chaired the committee, and Haines served as its deputy chief counsel.

Secretary of homeland security

Alejandro Mayorkas, Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, on Tuesday, May 24, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alejandro Mayorkas in 2016. (Alex Brandon/AP)

If confirmed, Cuban-born Alejandro Mayorkas would become the first Latino to run the department that is tasked with overseeing the nation’s immigration policies. He served as deputy homeland security secretary from 2013 to 2016 and was the architect for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allowed the children of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. by their parents to remain in the country. A former U.S. attorney in California, he also served as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during the Obama administration.

Treasury secretary

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks during her last news conference in office December 13, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen at her last news conference in office, on Dec. 13, 2017. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Biden is expected to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to the post of treasury secretary, according to sources familiar with his decision. If he does and she is confirmed, she will be the first woman ever to hold that job. Yellen also broke a glass ceiling when Obama named her chair of the Fed, and she previously served as the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton administration.

_____

Read more from Yahoo News: