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Photo: Michael Reynolds/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate voted 78-20 on Tuesday to confirm Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

The big picture: Thomas-Greenfield has promised to restore the U.S. role as a defender of human rights and will look to repair multilateral relationships that fractured under former President Trump. She will play a key role in the administration's China strategy — her "highest priority," she has said.

  • Thomas-Greenfield faced criticism during her confirmation hearing for comments she made while speaking at a Beijing-backed Confucius Institute in 2019.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) delayed the confirmation vote over Thomas-Greenfield's remarks, Politico reports, concerned she will be soft on Beijing.
  • She said during her confirmation hearing that she regretted accepting the invitation and that she shared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's concerns about China's "malign force" and "debt traps and tactics" in Africa.
  • She also pledged to defend Israel at the UN.

Background: A Foreign Service veteran, Thomas-Greenfield served as assistant secretary of state for African affairs in the State Department from 2013 to 2017.

Go deeper

1 dead as severe storms pummel the South

A tree that fell on a home carport damaged a vehicle during a storm in Central, Louisiana. No injuries were reported, according to Central Fire Department. Photo: Central Fire Department/Twitter

Strong storms lashed the South early Saturday, spawning at least one tornado and unleashing powerful winds and hail. And forecasters warned more severe weather was expected to hit parts of the region in the coming hours.

Details: Thousands of customers lost power in Florida, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana, according to tracking site poweroutage.us. An F3 tornado that hit St Landry Parish, Louisiana, killed one person and wounded seven others.

Scoop: Biden eyes Russia adviser criticized as soft on Kremlin

Photo: Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images

President Biden is considering appointing Matthew Rojansky, head of the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute, as Russia director on the National Security Council, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Why it matters: Rojansky has been praised for his scholarship on Russia and is frequently cited in U.S. media for his expert commentary. But his work has drawn criticism — including in a 2018 open letter from Ukrainian alumni of Kennan that blasted the think tank he runs as an "unwitting tool of Russia’s political interference."

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hold steady at 65,000 per day — CDC declares racism "a serious public health threat" — WHO official: Brazil is dealing with "raging inferno" of a COVID outbreak.
  2. Vaccines: America may be close to hitting a vaccine wall — Pfizer asks FDA to expand COVID vaccine authorization to adolescents — CDC says Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply will drop 80% next week.
  3. Economy: Treasury says over 156 million stimulus payments sent out since March — More government spending expected as IMF projects 6% global GDP growth.
  4. Politics: Supreme Court ends California's coronavirus restrictions on home religious meetings.
  5. World: Iran tightens COVID restrictions amid fourth wave of pandemic.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.