President-elect Joe Biden introduced key members of his Cabinet and national security team during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, Tuesday afternoon, and declared: “America is back.”
“It’s a team that will keep our country and our people safe and secure. It’s a team that reflects the fact that America is back. Ready to lead the world, not retreat from it. Once again, sit at the head of the table. Ready to confront our adversaries, and not reject our allies, ready to stand up for our values,” Biden said as he introduced his choices for positions he described as “critical.”
Those picks include Antony Blinken as secretary of state, Alejandro Mayorkas as secretary of Homeland Security, Avril Haines as director of national intelligence, Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Jake Sullivan as national security adviser and John Kerry as Biden’s special envoy for climate.
The remarks were Biden’s first public comments since the head of the General Services Administration on Monday informed the president-elect that the official government transition process has been approved.
Biden said he was “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.”
He also urged lawmakers to take swift action in confirming his national security team.
“To the United States Senate, I hope these outstanding nominees receive a prompt hearing, and that we can work across the aisle in good faith to move forward for the country,” Biden said.
Earlier in the day, Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., who has acknowledged Biden as the president-elect, offered some faint praise for the cabinet picks, saying Biden’s “resisting the far left on most of the picks to date.” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fl., tweeted that Biden’s choices “went to Ivy League schools, have strong resumes, attend all the right conferences & will be polite & orderly caretakers of America’s decline … I have no interest in returning to the ‘normal’ that left us dependent on China.”
Mayorkas, who like Rubio is Cuban American, is the first Latino and the first immigrant picked to head Homeland Security, while Haines is the first woman nominated to be DNI. Kerry’s selection marks the first time that the National Security Council will include an official dedicated to climate change.
All of Biden’s national security nominees spoke at the event, with Blinken discussing the importance of the country’s ideals.