Former United States Secretary of State John Kerry has been confirmed as incoming climate envoy when US President-elect takes WH on Jan 20, 2021. The former Obama-administration official among others was earlier tipped to get key position in the Biden administration. Other key appointments include longtime Biden aide Antony Blinken as secretary of state while reports say former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen will take the office of treasury secretary.
The development came at a time when calls even within the Republicans are growing for Trump to concede the election and begin facilitating the transition. The President has continuously made unverified claims of voter fraud and is continuing with some call his legal absurdities over the outcomes of the presidential polls.
The President-elect is projected to defeat Trump by 306 votes to 232 when the US electoral college formally announces the winner on Dec 14. Biden’s projected lead margin is the minimum required 270 number to grab the presidency. In a statement following the announcement of this key picks on Monday, Biden said:
“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.” Some of the appointments require United States Senate approval vote.
Who is John Kerry and what will be his new role?
John Kerry was opted for the role of special presidential envoy for climate. Biden transition team announcing his selection said:
“This marks the first time that the NSC will include an official dedicated to climate change, reflecting the president-elect’s commitment to addressing climate change as an urgent national security issue,” the Biden transition team said in a statement.
Kerry who served as secretary of state in the Obama administration will be a cabinet-member in former Obama’s deputy administration and will also hold a position in the National Security Council.
“It’ll be an honor to work with our allies and partners, alongside rising young leaders in the climate movement, to tackle the climate crisis with the seriousness and urgency it deserves,” Kerry wrote in a tweet. Kerry during his time under Obama signed the Paris climate agreement in 2016. The deal committed the signatories to working to limit caron emission and global temperature rise. Under the presidency of Trump, the US recently became the first country to formally abandon the deal but Biden has said he plans to rejoin the climate change agreement as soon as possible.
Kerry in 2019 founded a coalition of world leaders and celebrities named World War Zero to call for climate change action and advocate net zero carbon emissions. Following the new of his role on Monday, he tweeted: “America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is.”
A veteran Democratic big gun, he lost to incumbent Republican George W. Bush in 2004 Presidential election. He served as a senator for 28 years and chairman of the foreign relations committee. Kerry endorsed the candidature of Biden in 2020 White House race and was part of his campaign trail.
Other key picks
Blinken was handed the post of secretary of state, the most important foreign policy position in the administration. The 58-year old previously served as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser during Obama tenure in which Biden was US VP.
Antony Blinken thanked everyone for confirming him for the position in a social media tweet: “The messages from friends and colleagues that I’ve received over the past 15 hours have been humbling. Honored to announce, officially, that I have been nominated to serve as Secretary of State. If confirmed, this is a mission I will take on with my full heart.”
He is expected to reverse foreign policy blunders committed by Trump administration and reengage with Western allies.
Avril Haines, a former deputy director of CIA and deputy national security was picked as first female director of national intelligence.
Jake Sullivan who was previously deployed Biden’s national security adviser as a former Obama administration member is named as White House national security adviser.
Alejandro Mayorkas who was formerly as deputy secretary on Homeland is the first Latino nominated to serve as secretary of homeland security.
A veteran diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield is nominated as US ambassador to UN. She also acted as assistant secretary of state for African affairs from 2013 to 2017.
Calls for Trump to concede
Trump’s refusal to concede and facilitate the transfer of power to the President-elect has been so-far futile as his pursuit for litigation has been proved highly fruitless in a number of states. The President recently suffered a blow on Saturday with his lawsuit dismissed by a judge to overturn millions of mail-in postal ballots in Pennsylvania. Christ Christie, a prominent Trump ally and ex-NJ Governor blasted President’s legal team as a “national embarrassment”.
“I have been a supporter of the presidents. I voted for him twice. But elections have consequences, and we cannot continue to act as if something happened here that didn’t happen,” he told ABC.
Another longtime Trump, Blackstone CEO, Stephen Schwarzman also urged the Republican to concede.
“Like many in the business community, I am ready to help President-elect Biden and his team as they confront the significant challenges of rebuilding our post-COVID economy.”
A minority but growing number of Republican legislators have also called on President to accept the defeat.