Introducing his new foreign policy and national security team, the Democratic former vice-president signalled he intended after taking office on January 20 to steer the United States away from the “America First” nationalism pursued by Trump.
The Republican incumbent has unsettled many US allies, in Europe and elsewhere, with an antagonistic approach toward the NATO alliance and trade relations, abandonment of international agreements and warm relationships with authoritarian leaders.
Biden said his team, which includes trusted aide Antony Blinken as his nominee for US secretary of state, would shed “old thinking and unchanged habits” in its approach to foreign relations.
“It’s a team that reflects the fact that America is back, ready to lead the world, not retreat from it, once again sit at the head of the table, ready to confront our adversaries and not reject our allies, ready to stand up for our values,” Biden said in Wilmington, Delaware.
The world is much changed as Democrats return to the White House. China is rising and emboldened, Russia has sought to further assert its clout, US influence has waned and American moral authority has been dented by turmoil at home.
Biden also has tapped Jake Sullivan as national security adviser, Linda Thomas-Greenfield as US ambassador to the United Nations, Alejandro Mayorkas as secretary of homeland security and John Kerry as climate envoy. They appeared with Biden and underscored his message.
His promise to embrace alliances, including in the Asia-Pacific region, follows a deterioration in bilateral ties between the United States and China that has triggered comparisons to the Cold War.
Biden has moved swiftly to assemble his team after defeating Trump in the November 3 election. Trump has waged a flailing legal battle to try to overturn the results, falsely claiming the election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud.
Biden urged the Senate to give his nominees who require confirmation “a prompt hearing” and expressed hope he could work with Republicans “in good faith to move forward for the country”.
Some Republican senators, however, indicated they may stand in the way of his appointments. Marco Rubio, a foreign relations committee member, wrote on Twitter that Biden’s cabinet picks “will be polite & orderly caretakers of America’s decline”.
Trump has said he will never concede but after weeks of limbo his administration on Monday finally gave the green light for the formal transfer of power to begin.
In another sign Trump has all but accepted his loss, he gave the go-ahead for Biden to start receiving the president’s daily intelligence briefing.
Critics have said Trump’s behaviour undercut the incoming administration’s ability to combat the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed almost 260,000 Americans and left millions more jobless.
Pennsylvania became the latest pivotal state on Tuesday to certify that Biden had won. The Nevada Supreme Court also confirmed Biden had won the state, sending the results to the governor for final certification.
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