Biden: "America Is Back," Cabinet Picks "Ready To Lead The World, Not Retreat From It" | Video | RealClearPolitics

Biden: "America Is Back," Cabinet Picks "Ready To Lead The World, Not Retreat From It"


AFP: President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday introduced a seasoned national security team which he said was prepared to resume US leadership of the world once Donald Trump leaves the White House. (Read full remarks below.)

The six women and men he has chosen to be his key diplomats and intelligence advisors said they would implement a return to multilateralism, global cooperation and fighting climate change after four years of Trump's go-it-alone policies.

"It's a team that will keep our country and our people safe and secure," Biden said, introducing his picks for secretary of state, national security advisor, intelligence chief, homeland security and other key cabinet jobs.

"It's a team that reflects the fact that America is back. Ready to lead the world, not retreat from it," Biden said.

PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN: Good afternoon, everyone. Today I am pleased to announce nominations and staff for critical foreign policy national security positions in my administration. It is a team that will keep our country and our people safe and secure and it's a team that reflects the fact that America is back ready to leave the world not retreat from it, once again sit at the head of the table ready to confront our adversaries and not reject their allies, ready to stand up for our values.

In fact, in calls from world leaders that I have had about 18 of them or 20 so far, I'm not sure the exact number in the weeks since we won the election, I have been struck by how much they are looking forward to the United States reasserting its historic role as a global leader both in the Pacific as well as the Atlantic all across the world. The team meets this moment, this team behind me, they embodied my core beliefs that America is strongest when it works with its allies.

Collectively this team has secured some of the most defining national security and diplomatic achievements in recent memory made possible through decades of experience working with our partners. That is how we truly keep America safe without engaging in needless military conflicts and our adversaries in check and terrorist at the and that is how we counterterrorism and extremism, control this pandemic and future ones, deal with the climate crisis, nuclear proliferation, cyber threats, and emerging technologies that spread authoritarianism and so much more.

And while this team has unmatched experience and accomplishments they also reflect the idea that we cannot meet these challenges with old thinking and unchanged habits. For example, we are going to have the first woman lead in the intelligence community, the first Latino and immigrant to lead the Department of Homeland Security and a groundbreaking diplomat at the United Nations. We are going to have a principal on the National Security Council, whose full-time job is to fight climate change for the first time ever that will occur. And my national security team we coordinated by one of the youngest national security advisors in decades. Experience and leadership, fresh thinking and perspective and an unrelenting belief in the promise of America. I have long said that America leads not only by the example of our power but by the power of our example and I am proud to put forward this incredible team that will lead by example.

As secretary of state I nominate Tony Blinken, he is one of the better prepared for this job, no one is better prepared in my view. He will be the secretary of state who previously served in top roles on Capitol Hill and the White House and in the State Department. He delivered for the American people in each place for example leading our diplomatic efforts in the fight against ISIS, strengthening America's alliance and position in the Asia-Pacific guiding our responses to their global refugee crisis with compassion and determination and he will rebuild morale and trust in the State Department where his career in government began.

And he starts off with the kind of relationships around the world that many of his predecessors have had to build over the years. I know, I have seen him in action. Tony has been one of my closest and most trusted advisors. I know him and his family, immigrants and refugees, a Holocaust survivor who taught him to never take for granted the very idea of America as a place of possibilities--possibilities. Tony is ready on day one. As secretary of your Homeland Security I nominate Alejandro Mayorkas. This is one of the hardest jobs in government, a gigantic agency, the DHS secretary needs to keep us safe from threats at home and from abroad and it's the job that plays a critical role in fixing our broken immigration system.

After years of chaos, dysfunction, absolute cruelty at DHS I am proud to nominate an experienced leader who has been hailed by both Democrats and Republicans. Alej (SP) as he goes by is a former U.S. attorney, former director of U.S. Citizenship And Immigration Services and a former DHS--DHS deputy secretary, helped implement DACA, prevented attacks on the homeland, enhance our cyber security help communities recover from natural disaster, combated Ebola and Zika and while DHS affects everyone given his critical role in immigration matters I am proud that for the first time ever the department will be led by an immigrant, a Latino who knows that we are a nation of laws and values. And one more thing, today is his birthday. Happy birthday, man. Happy birthday. He's 21.

As a director of National Intelligence I nominate Avril Haines, the first woman ever to hold this post to lead our intelligence community I didn't pick a politician or a political figure, I picked a professional. She is eminently qualified former deputy director of the CIA, former deputy national security adviser to President Obama and the fierce advocate for telling the truth and leveling with her decisions--with the decision-makers straight up. Nothing unnecessary.

I know because I have worked with her for over a decade brilliant, humble, can talk literature and theoretical physics, fixing cars, flying planes, running a bookstore cafe, all in a single conversation because she's done all of that and above all she get word of a threat if she gets word of a threat coming to our shores like another pandemic or foreign interference in our election she will not stop raising the alarms until the right people take action. People will be able to take her word because she always calls it as she sees it. I believe we are safer with Avril on the watch. I think we - may I think she can make a great contribution.

And as United ambassador--the United States ambassador to the United Nations I nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a seasoned and distinguished diplomat with 35 years in the foreign service who never forgot where she came from growing up in segregated Louisiana, the eldest of eight. Her dad couldn't read or write but she says he was the smartest person she knew. The first in her family to go to--to graduate from high school then college with the whole world literally ahead of her as her dad and mom told her to leave.

Posts in Switzerland, Pakistan, Kenya, the Gambia, Nigeria, Jamaica, Liberia where she was known as the People's Ambassador. Willing to meet with anyone. Ambassadors, a student working people struggling to get by and always treating them with the same level of dignity and respect. She was our top State Department official in charge of African policy during the Ebola crisis. She received overwhelming support from her fellow career and foreign service officers and she will be a cabinet status because I want to hear her voice on all of the major foreign policy discussions we have.

And my national security advisor I choose Jake Sullivan. He is a once in a generation intellect with experience in temperament for one of the toughest jobs in the world. When I was vice president he served as my national security advisor, he was a top adviser to Secretary of State Clinton, he helped lead the early negotiations that led to the Iran Nuclear Deal, he helped broker the Gaza cease-fire in 2012, played a key role in Asian-Pacific rebalance in our administration and in this campaign for presidency he served as one of my most trusted advisors on both foreign and domestic policy including helping develop our COVID-19 strategy.

Jake understands my vision that economic security is national security and it helps steer what I call a foreign policy for the middle class for families like his growing up in Minnesota where he was raised by parents who were educators and taught him the values of hard work, decency, service, and respect. What that means is to win the competition for the future we need to keep us safe and secure and build back better than ever. We need to invest in our people, sharpen our innovative edge, unite the economic might of our democracies around the world to grow the middle class and reduce in equity and do things like counter predatory trade practices that our competitors--of our competitors and adversaries.

And before I talk about the final person today, let me talk about this new position. For the first time ever the United States will have a full-time climate leader who will participate in ministerial level meetings, and that is a fancy way of saying he will have a seat at every table around the world. For the first time ever he will be--there will be a principal on the National Security Council who can make sure climate changes on the agenda in the situation room.

For the first time ever we will have a presidential envoy climate. He will be matched with high level White House climate policy coordinator and policy making structure to be announced in December, and that will lead efforts here in the United States to combine combat the climate crisis with mobilized action to meet the existential threat that we face.

Let me be clear. I don't for a minute underestimate the difficulties of meeting my bold commitments to fighting climate change. But at the same time, no one should underestimate for a minute my determination to do just that. And as for the man himself, if I had a former Secretary of State who helped negotiate the Paris Climate Accord or a former presidential nominee or a former leading Senate-- senator, or the head of a major climate organization for the job, I would show my--that would show my commitment to the United States and the whole world.

The fact that I picked that one person who is all of these things speaks unambiguously to my commitment. The world will know that one of my closest friends, John Kerry, he's speaking for America on one of the most pressing threats of our time. No one I trust more.

To this team, I thank them for extending accepting this call to service and for their families. I thank you all for your sacrifice. You know, we could do that we could not do this without you, in my view. Together, these public servants will restore America globally, its global leadership, and its moral leadership. And we'll ensure that our service members, diplomats, and intelligence professionals can do their job free of politics.

I'll not only repair, they also re imagine American foreign policy and national security for the next generation. And they will tell me what I need to know, not what I want to know, what I need to know.

To the American people, this team will make us proud to be Americans. And as more states certify the results of this election, there's progress to wrap up our victory. You know, I'm pleased to have received the ascertainment from GSA to carry out a smooth and peaceful transition of power so our teams can prepare to meet the challenges at hand to control the pandemic, to build back better, and to protect the safety and security of the American people.

And to the United States Senate, I hope these outstanding nominees received a prompt hearing and that we can work across the aisle in good faith to move forward for the country. Let's begin that work to heal and Unite, to heal and Unite America as well as the world. I want to thank you all. May God bless you and May God protect our troops.
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