Long-time Biden Aide Blinken Most Likely Choice for Secretary of State

Blinken, who is Jewish, was an instrumental part of getting the Iran deal passed in Congress ■ He is known as a moderate Democrat, making his path to confirmation easier than other contenders

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken listens to journalists' questions during a news conference, at a hotel in Mexico City, April 30, 2015.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken listens to journalists' questions during a news conference, at a hotel in Mexico City, April 30, 2015. Credit: Henry Romero/ REUTERS

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden plans to name Antony Blinken his secretary of state, Bloomberg reported on Sunday, citing unidentified sources.

Bloomberg said an announcement was expected on Tuesday. Biden's transition team declined comment and Blinken did not respond to a request for comment.

A Biden ally, who did not want to be identified, told Reuters Blinken was Biden's most likely choice for secretary of state. He had been one of two names most frequently mentioned by insiders as being on Biden’s short list, together with former national security adviser and UN ambassador Susan Rice.

A former deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser, 58-year-old Tony Blinken, who is Jewish, and whose stepfather survived the Holocaust, served as Biden’s chief foreign policy adviser in the Senate and was a top aide on his presidential campaign. He is considered a moderate Democrat in his world view, and is likely to have a reasonably easy ride to confirmation, with Republicans potentially finding it difficult to raise credible objections to his appointment.

Joe Biden, and then Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, November 1, 2013.Credit: Jonathan Ernst/ REUTERS

Blinken's message to Jewish voters during the campaign was that Trump wasn’t good for Israel, because the damage he’s done to the international standing of the United States ultimately hurts the Jewish state as well.

He also highlighted Biden's support for Israel, stating categorically that Biden "would not tie military assistance to Israel to any political decisions Israel makes” during a call organized in May by the Democratic Majority for Israel, an organization that seeks to increase support for Israel within the Democratic Party.

People familiar with his management style describe Blinken, 58, as a "diplomat's diplomat," deliberative and relatively soft-spoken, but well-versed in the nuts and bolts of foreign policy. He played a leading role in getting the 2015 Obama nuclear deal passed by Congress, and has said throughout the Biden campaign that Trump’s decision to withdraw from the deal in 2018 placed Israel in more, not less, peril from Iran.

In an interview with Jewish Insider last month, Blinken said that even if the deal is renewed in some form and nuclear-related sanctions against Iran were suspended, “we will continue non-nuclear sanctions as a strong hedge against Iranian misbehavior in other areas.”

Amir Tibon contributed to this report.

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