By Cyril Henry
It’s been a couple of weeks since I last reached out. In the time since, we have been hard at work, building a government that reflects the values we campaigned on: healing our nation’s great divides at home and restoring our leadership role abroad. You were an integral part of our team, so I wanted to share some exciting news: I’ve selected my first Cabinet nominees.
The men and women I am announcing today will be core members of my national security, foreign policy, and law enforcement team. They are experienced and crisis-tested. They will keep us safe and secure. And, they are leaders who look like America and reflect my core belief that America is back and that we lead not just by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.
I’m honored to introduce these six extraordinary individuals:
Tony Blinken as Secretary of State
Tony is one of my most trusted advisors, and no one is better prepared for the job. He served as my staff director on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when I was a Senator. He went on to serve as my National Security Advisor when I was Vice President and as Deputy Secretary of State under President Obama, continuing a life-long dedication to public service. Tony is universally respected by those who know him, and with good reason. He’s a principled, compassionate leader, and as America’s top diplomat, he’ll help strengthen our State Department and represent how America is strongest when we lead with our values.
Alejandro Mayorkas as Secretary of Homeland Security
The son of refugees, Ali will be the first Latino and immigrant to lead the Department of Homeland Security. As Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security under President Obama, he led the implementation of DACA, enhanced our cybersecurity, and responded to natural disasters and public health threats like Ebola and Zika. He will play a critical role in fixing our broken immigration system and understands that living up to our values and protecting our nation’s security aren’t mutually exclusive—and under his leadership, they’ll go hand-in-hand.
Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence
A consummate national security professional, Avril was the first female Deputy Director of the CIA, and now, she will be the first woman to hold the office of Director of National Intelligence. I’ve worked with her for over a decade. She’s brilliant and humble and will always tell it straight while engaging in this work in a way that reflects our shared values. Under her leadership, our intelligence community will be supported, trusted, and empowered to protect our national security, without being undermined or politicized. We will be safer because of her.
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
As a 35-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield is a distinguished, respected diplomat who has served on four continents. Raised in segregated Louisiana, she follows in a tradition of barrier-breaking African-American diplomats who have dedicated their lives to public service, and brings critical perspective to a role that is more important—and more necessary—than ever before. As UN Ambassador, Linda will renew our relationships with our friends and allies, help revitalize our diplomatic corps and restore America’s reputation on the world stage.
Jake Sullivan as National Security Advisor
Jake was my National Security Advisor during my Vice Presidency, and a top advisor on domestic and foreign policy throughout my campaign, including on our strategy for controlling the pandemic. No one has a deeper understanding of the overlapping challenges we face, and how to protect our national security and advance a foreign policy that delivers for the middle class. He will be one of the youngest National Security Advisors in history, and his once-in-a-generation intellect and poise under pressure makes him the ideal choice for one of the toughest jobs in the world.
Secretary John Kerry as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate
Secretary Kerry needs no introduction. From signing the Paris Agreement on behalf of the United States as Secretary of State, to forming a bipartisan climate action coalition alongside the next generation of climate activists, his efforts to rally the world to combat climate change have been expansive and relentless. Now, I’ve asked him to return to government to get America back on track to address one of the most urgent national security threats we face—the climate crisis. This role is the first of its kind: the first cabinet-level climate position, and the first time climate change has had a seat at the table on the National Security Council. There could be no one better suited to meet this moment.
This team will be ready to take on our nation’s greatest challenges on day one, which is important because there is no time to waste when it comes to our national security. In adding these great Americans to my team, I hope my message is loud and clear: America is back. And America is ready to lead.