Updated Nov 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden to name Antony Blinken as secretary of state

Then-Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken speaks at the 2016 Concordia Summit - Day 1 at Grand Hyatt New York on September 19, 2016 in New York City.
Anthony Blinken, then deputy secretary of state speaks at a 2016 summit 2016 in New York City. Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Concordia Summit

President-elect Joe Biden will name as secretary of state his longtime adviser Antony Blinken, who has held diplomatic and national security jobs since the Clinton administration, a Biden adviser confirmed to Axios on Sunday.

Our thought bubble: By nominating Blinken, who has worked closely with Biden over the past two decades, Biden may return more authority to and work to rebuild the ranks and morale inside the diplomatic corps after President Trump moved to diminish its reach and centralize decision making inside the White House.

Between the lines: Biden made his decision to pick the longtime diplomat several days ago, but he was waiting to announce it along with other Cabinet picks this week.

What to expect: As Biden's envoy to the world, Blinken will carry out the president-elect's promise to re-engage with the world after four years of Trump's "America first" policy.

  • At an Axios event in October, Blinken said a Biden foreign policy would include "humility, because most of the world’s problems are not about us, even though they affect us."
  • "We can’t just flip a switch and solve them," said Blinken, who served in two key roles in the Obama administration. "But also, with confidence, because America, at its best, still has a greater capacity than any country on earth to mobilize others in positive, collective action."

Of note: Incoming White House chief of staff Ron Klain said earlier Sunday that Biden would begin making cabinet announcements on Tuesday.

The big picture: Blinken served as deputy national security adviser from 2013 to 2015 and deputy secretary of state from 2015 to 2017. He was Biden's top aide on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee over 15 years ago. He started his career at the State Department in the Clinton administration.

  • Blinken went to grade school and high school in Paris, then graduated as a Harvard undergrad and went to Columbia Law School. He has practiced law in New York and Paris, and was a reporter for The New Republic.
  • In 2018, he founded the WestExec advisory firm with Michèle Flournoy, seen as a favorite to head Biden's Pentagon. 
  • Bloomberg first reported news of his expected appointment.

Go deeper: Full bio.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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