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Joe Biden expected to nominate John Kerry for leading climate change role

The expected nomination of the former secretary of state is the latest of Mr Biden’s key picks for national security and foreign policy roles.

Image: PA

US PRESIDENT-elect Joe Biden is expected to nominate John Kerry to lead the incoming administration’s effort in combatting climate change.

The nomination of the former secretary of state comes as Biden continues to build out his administration with key picks for national security and foreign policy roles.

Other planned nominations include Alejandro Mayorkas as the secretary for the department of homeland security and Antony Blinken as Biden’s secretary of state, according to multiple people familiar with the Biden team’s planning.

Blinken, 58, served as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration and has close ties with Biden.

If nominated and confirmed, he would be a leading force in the incoming administration’s bid to reframe the US relationship with the rest of the world after four years in which Donald Trump questioned long-time alliances.

In nominating Blinken, Biden would sidestep potentially thorny issues that could have affected Senate confirmation for two other candidates on his shortlist to be America’s top diplomat: Susan Rice and Senator Chris Coons.

Rice would have faced significant Republican opposition and likely rejection in the Senate. She has long been a target of Republicans, including for statements she made after the deadly 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

Coons, a member of the Senate foreign relations committee, lacked the experience in managing day-to-day foreign policy issues that Blinken would bring to the job.

Biden is likely to name his cabinet picks in tranches, with groups of nominees focused on a specific top area, like the economy, national security or public health, being announced at once. Advisers to the president-elect’s transition have said they’ll make their first cabinet announcements tomorrow.

If Biden focuses on national security that day, Michele Flournoy, a veteran of Pentagon policy jobs, is a top choice to lead the defence department.

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Jake Sullivan, a long-time adviser to Biden and Hillary Clinton, is also in the mix for a top job, including White House national security adviser.

For his part, Blinken recently participated in a national security briefing with Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris and has weighed in publicly on notable foreign policy issues in Egypt and Ethiopia.

The secretary of state would inherit a deeply demoralised and depleted career workforce at the state department.

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