President-elect Joe Biden announced another wave of senior staff picks for his administration on Monday, including the first Latino person to be nominated for secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
Alejandro Mayorkas, a Cuban American who served as the deputy secretary of DHS during the Obama administration, has been nominated for the agency’s top position. He is the first Latino and immigrant to be nominated for the role.
Prior to serving as deputy secretary of DHS, Mayorkas was a U.S. attorney in California. He later served as the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during then-President Barack Obama’s first term in office.
The Biden transition team announced five other Cabinet picks Monday, including Avril Haines as the director of national intelligence. If the Senate confirms her, she would be the first woman to lead the U.S. intelligence community.
Haines previously served as White House deputy national security adviser in the Obama White House. She made history in 2013 when she became the first woman to take on the role of deputy director of the CIA.
“We have no time to lose when it comes to our national security and foreign policy,” Biden said in a statement, adding that individuals nominated are “equally as experienced and crisis-tested as they are innovative and imaginative.”
“Their accomplishments in diplomacy are unmatched, but they also reflect the idea that we cannot meet the profound challenges of this new moment with old thinking and unchanged habits ― or without diversity of background and perspective,” he added.
Biden also named former Secretary of State John Kerry as his special presidential envoy on climate on Monday. Kerry will sit on the National Security Council, marking the first time the body will have an official dedicated to fighting climate change.
Biden nominated longtime aide Antony Blinken to serve as secretary of state. Blinken, who served as deputy secretary of state during Obama’s second term, is popular among U.S. allies abroad and with many officials at the State Department.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Liberia Linda Thomas-Greenfield has been nominated to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Previously, she’s held positions as the assistant secretary of state for African affairs and as director-general of the U.S. Foreign Service.
Biden appointed Jake Sullivan, currently his senior policy adviser, to serve as his national security adviser. At 43 years old, Sullivan will be one of the youngest national security advisers in decades.
The Wall Street Journal reported later Monday that Biden planned to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to become treasury secretary, citing people familiar with the decision. Yellen, who was the first woman to lead the Fed, would be the first woman to head the Treasury Department if confirmed.
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