Joe Biden intends to nominate Antony Blinken as US secretary of state, said a person close to his transition on Sunday, turning to a trusted diplomat and foreign-policy adviser as he prepares to undo President Donald Trump’s foreign policy.
Blinken served as deputy secretary of State between 2015 and 2017 and has also served Biden as an adviser for years. In 2008, he worked on Biden's bid for the Democratic nomination, which he eventually lost to former President Barack Obama.
A second Biden ally said that Blinken was Biden’s first choice and an announcement is expected to be made on Tuesday.
"You're going to see the first of the president's cabinet appointments on Tuesday of this week, meeting the pace of — beating in fact — the pace that was set by the Obama-Biden transition, beating the pace set by the Trump transition. So you're gonna see the first cabinet picks this Tuesday," said Ron Klain, Biden's chief of staff, on Sunday during an interview with ABC.
The first source also said that another longtime Biden aide with a foreign policy background, Jake Sullivan, would be the top candidate to be US national security adviser.
Sullivan, formerly a close policy aide to Hillary Clinton, served as Biden’s national security adviser during the Obama administration.
Bloomberg News was first to report the expected roles.
Neither Blinken nor Sullivan responded to requests for comment and Biden’s transition team also declined to comment.
Blinken and Sullivan have helped Biden devise a strategy that entails immediate outreach to US allies that have often been antagonized by Trump’s “America First” approach.
Biden has pledged to rejoin a nuclear deal with Iran, return to the Paris climate accord, abandon plans to leave the World Health Organization among others.
He is also expected to name Linda Thomas-Greenfield - an expert on Africa policy - as US ambassador to the United Nations, according to media reports on Sunday.
Despite the expected nominations, Trump, who according to the media lost to Biden during the disputed presidential election on November 3, has refused to concede defeat and mounted multiple legal challenges to reverse the results in several key states.
However, his campaign’s efforts have so far met with little success in the courtroom or on the ground.