Joe Biden will name Tony Blinken as his Secretary of State, Bloomberg reported on Sunday night, as speculation mounted that Michele Flournoy would be announced the first female Secretary of Defense, and Linda Thomas-Greenfield named as UN ambassador.
Blinken, 58, is currently Biden’s foreign policy adviser, and Biden’s appointing of his Cabinet members will likely infuriate Donald Trump, who has insisted that the election is not yet settled.
His appointment will also disappoint Susan Rice, who was considered a front-runner for the job.
The New York-born international relations expert was Barack Obama‘s deputy Secretary of State from 2015 until the inauguration of Donald Trump, in January 2017.
Prior to that Blinken served as Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser starting in 2013, and was part of Biden’s own advisory team as the National Security Adviser for the Vice President from 2009 to 2013.
He was part of the Obama-Biden transition team in 2008.
Tony Blinken, 58, will reportedly be named as Joe Biden’s Secretary of State
Biden, 78, is set to announce members of his Cabinet this week, his chief of staff has said
Blinken grew up in New York until, at the age of nine, he left the US with his mother to live in Paris.
He returned to the United States to obtain a degree from Harvard, and work as a journalist before obtaining a law degree.
By 1994 he was in the White House, as a member of Bill Clinton’s National Security Council.
In recent years Blinken co-founded a political strategy firm, WestExec Advisors, and worked as a foreign affairs analyst for CNN.
His wife, Evan Ryan, was assistant for intergovernmental affairs and public liaison while Biden was vice president. She then went on to be the assistant Secretary of State.
Michele Flournoy is expected to be named as Joe Biden’s Secretary of Defense
Michele Flournoy, pictured with Marines Lt. Gen. John Paxton, in February 2010
Biden is also believed to have chosen Michele Flournoy as Secretary of Defense – an announcement which, if confirmed, would make her the first woman to lead the Pentagon.
Flournoy, 59, served in the Clinton White House as deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy, and was secretary of defense policy under Obama.
She worked as an advisor to former defense secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta.
She co-founded WestExec Advisors with Blinken.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield is believed to have been chosen as Biden’s UN ambassador
Thomas-Greenfield is pictured with John Kerry in August 2016 while in Kenya
Trump smiles as he gets into his motorcade to leave the White House on Sunday
Biden’s chief of staff said on Sunday that the 78-year-old will name his first cabinet picks on Tuesday, even as Trump clung to unsubstantiated claims of fraud despite growing dissent from within his own party.
Biden has pushed ahead with preparations to assume the presidency on January 20, regardless of Trump’s bid to undo the results of the November 3 vote.
‘You are going to see the first of the president-elect’s cabinet picks on Tuesday of this week,’ said Ron Klain, Biden’s chief of staff, on Sunday.
He declined to say which posts the president-elect would announce, though Biden said last week he has already decided on his pick for the key position of Treasury Secretary.
A growing number of Republicans have either recognized Biden’s victory or at least urged the General Services Administration – the usually low-profile agency that manages the federal bureaucracy – to release federal funds for the Biden transition.
With Trump refusing to acknowledge the election outcome, Biden and his top aides have been denied briefings on sensitive domestic and foreign policy issues – most urgently the coronavirus pandemic battering the country.
Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who in 2016 advised the Trump transition, said on ABC that the president’s legal team was a ‘national embarrassment’ and that it was time for the GSA to release transition funds.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, another prominent Republican, said on CNN that Trump was making the country look like a ‘banana republic.’
He tweeted later that the president should ‘stop golfing and concede.’
Biden leaves mass at Saint Ann Catholic Church on Saturday in Wilmington, Delaware
The president has golfed on every weekend day since the election, though he took part virtually this weekend in the conference of the G20 leading economies.
Trump skipped a session Saturday on the pandemic.
Representative Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, said that if Trump’s lawyers cannot prove the claims of fraud, the president should be ‘respecting the sanctity of our electoral process.’
Even Representative Devin Nunes, an ardent Trump loyalist, conceded on Fox News that Biden was ‘the first guy to run a successful campaign from a basement.’
Appearances by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani have drawn mockery, as have claims by another member of his legal team, Sidney Powell.
Supporters of Trump seen Sunday as he arrives at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling
Powell has alleged baseless conspiracy theories involving the possible hack of the election, earning her heaps of derision but also praise from some of Trump’s most ardent supporters.
On Sunday, Giuliani distanced the team from her, saying in a statement she had been dropped.
‘Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own,’ he said.
Trump’s latest legal setback came Saturday, when a Pennsylvania judge threw out the president’s fraud claims there in a scathing judgment.
Pennsylvania was a must-win state this year, and went solidly into Biden’s column after backing Trump in 2016.
Judge Matthew Brann wrote that Trump’s team had presented ‘strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations’ in their complaints about mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania.
His ruling paved the way for Pennsylvania to certify Biden’s victory there, which is scheduled to take place Monday.
Biden won the state-by-state Electoral College votes that ultimately decide who takes the White House by 306 to 232.
The Electoral College is due to formally vote on December 14, with certifications to take place beforehand.
States’ certification of results of their popular votes is usually routine following a US presidential election.
A woman shouts at a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally on Sunday in Long Valley, New Jersey
But Trump’s refusal to concede has raised concerns that he could cause long-term damage to Americans’ trust in the voting system that underlies US democracy.
The judgment in Pennsylvania came hours after Republicans also requested a delay in certification in Michigan, another battleground, in a letter that repeated allegations of irregularities in the state, which Biden won by 155,000 votes.
They requested a two-week delay to allow a full audit of results in Wayne County. Wayne is the state’s largest county and home to majority-black Detroit, which Biden won overwhelmingly.
Michigan’s board of canvassers, which includes two Democrats and two Republicans, is due to meet Monday to certify the results.
There were reports that a Republican member of the board was considering voting against certification.
Biden has so far moderated his criticism of Trump’s actions, though he has spoken of ‘incredibly damaging messages being sent to the rest of the world about how democracy functions,’ adding: ‘It’s hard to fathom how this man thinks.’
Other Democrats have been unsparing in their criticism.
Samantha Power, who was UN ambassador under Barack Obama, told CNN that Trump’s failure to allow a smooth transition was ‘reckless in the extreme,’ depriving Biden of up-to-date briefings on issues as sensitive as troop levels in Afghanistan and any potential threats to US targets overseas.