Joe Biden is fleshing out his White House. Word leaked Sunday night that he plans to nominate Antony Blinken as his secretary of state, while other big picks were unveiled on Monday. More on Blinken and the others, including John Kerry and some notable firsts:
- Blinken's hobby: For a serious-minded look at Blinken's view of the world, see this piece at Foreign Policy, which notes that he is "well-respected in DC policy circles." The Hill predicts Blinken will take a tougher approach with authoritarian leaders in general than his predecessors in the Trump White House. Meanwhile, another, more surprising, aspect of the 58-year-old's life is getting attention. "He's a rocker," notes Stereogum. Yes, Blinken fronts the band ABlinken, which has its own Spotify page.
- Two firsts: Biden will pick Alejandro Mayorkas as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, the first Latino for the post, reports the New York Times. He also plans to pick Avril Haines as director of national intelligence, the first woman in that role.
- Familiar name: Biden has picked John Kerry, former secretary of state, as his special envoy on the climate. Axios notes that the pick "brings Kerry into the administration in what is likely to be an important role."
- UN ambassador: Linda Thomas-Greenfield, an African-American woman, has been selected for the UN ambassador post, which will be restored to Cabinet level, per the Times.
- Biden statement: “We have no time to lose when it comes to our national security and foreign policy,” Biden said in a statement, per the Washington Post. "I need a team ready on Day One to help me reclaim America’s seat at the head of the table, rally the world to meet the biggest challenges we face, and advance our security, prosperity, and values. This is the crux of that team.” Another key member: Jake Sullivan will be national security adviser.
- Blinken's music: The assessment from both Stereogum and Rolling Stone on Blinken's aforementioned music? Well, he won't be quitting his day job anytime soon, but the music isn't embarrassing, either. The songs "are the kinds of replacement-level bar-rock that one would expect from a middle-aged hobbyist," writes Tom Breihan at Stereogum. Claire Shaffer at Rolling Stone has much the same takeaway, going so far as to say that Blinken's song "Lip Service" is "a very fine beach bar jam."
(Read more Antony Blinken