Biden Will Nominate First Woman to Lead Intelligence, First Latino to Run Homeland Security

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John Kerry, the former secretary of state, will be climate czar, according to the Biden transition team.

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. plans to name several top national security picks on Tuesday, his transition office said, including the first Latino to lead the Department of Homeland Security, the first woman to head the intelligence community and a former secretary of state, John Kerry, to be his international climate czar.

At an event in Wilmington, Del., Mr. Biden will announce plans to nominate Alejandro Mayorkas to be his secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, his transition office said, and Avril Haines to be his director of national intelligence. He intends to name Mr. Kerry as a special presidential envoy on climate. The transition office also confirmed reports on Sunday night that Mr. Biden will nominate Antony J. Blinken to be secretary of state and Jake Sullivan as national security adviser.

Mr. Biden will also nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be ambassador to the United Nations and restore the job to cabinet-level status, giving Ms. Thomas-Greenfield, an African-American woman, a seat on his National Security Council.

Mr. Kerry’s job does not require Senate confirmation. A statement released by the transition office said Mr. Kerry “will fight climate change full-time as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate and will sit on the National Security Council.”

To manage his domestic climate policies, Mr. Biden also will soon name a White House climate director, who will have equal standing with Mr. Kerry, according to transition officials.

The emerging team reunites a group of former senior officials from the Obama administration, most of whom worked closely together at the State Department and the White House and in several cases have close ties to Mr. Biden dating back years. They are well known to foreign diplomats around the world and share a belief in the core principles of the Democratic foreign policy establishment — international cooperation, strong U.S. alliances and leadership but a wariness of foreign interventions after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The racial and gender mix also reflects Mr. Biden’s stated commitment to diversity, which has lagged behind notoriously in the worlds of foreign policy and national security, where white men are disproportionately represented.

The slate of picks also showed Mr. Biden’s determination to push forward with setting up his administration despite President Trump’s continuing refusal to concede or assist him, even as a small but growing number of Republicans lawmakers and supporters of the president are calling for a formal transition to begin.

If confirmed, Mr. Mayorkas, who served as deputy Homeland Security secretary from 2013 to 2016, would be the first Latino to run the department charged with implementing and managing the nation’s immigration policies.

A Cuban-born immigrant whose family fled the Castro revolution, he is a former U.S. attorney in California and began Mr. Obama’s first term as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. He will have to restore trust in the department after many key Democratic constituencies came to see it as the vessel for some of Mr. Trump’s most contentious policies, such as separating migrant children from their families and building a wall along the southern border.

Top immigration officials in the Obama administration recommended Mr. Mayorkas’s nomination as a way to build support with the immigrant community while satisfying moderates and career officials within the agency who are looking for a leader with a background in law enforcement.

 

 

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