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Biden Makes History Nominating First Latino Homeland Security Chief, First Woman to Head Intelligence

November 23, 2020 by Dan McCue
In this Nov. 17, 2020, photo President-elect Joe Biden arrives with Avril Haines, former Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, left, at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WILMINGTON, Del. – President-elect Joe Biden unveiled several of his top national security picks on Monday, his campaign revealing he will nominate Avril Haines to be his director of national intelligence and Alejandro Mayorkas, to be his secretary of Homeland Security.

In both cases, the nominations are historic.

Haines, a former deputy director of the CIA and deputy national security advisor, will be the first woman to lead the national intelligence community.

Mayorkas, meanwhile, will be the first Latino and immigrant nominated to serve as secretary of Homeland Security.

He served as the deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the Obama-Biden Administration from 2013 to 2016, and as the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services from 2009 to 2013.

Biden also nominated Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be ambassador to the United Nations and restore the job to cabinet-level status, giving Thomas-Greenfield, an African-American woman, a seat on his National Security Council.

And he named former Sen. John Kerry to serve as his special presidential envoy on climate. An official with the Biden-Harris transition office said the president-elect will also soon name a White House climate director who will have equal standing with Kerry and oversee domestic climate policy.

Kerry will also sit on the National Security Council.

The Biden-Harris transition office also confirmed a published report which first appeared on The New York Times website Sunday night, that Biden is nominating Antony Blinken, who served as national security advisor and deputy secretary of state during the Obama administration, to be secretary of state, and Jake Sullivan to be his national security adviser.

Sullivan is currently a senior policy advisor to President-elect Biden and formerly served as deputy assistant to the president and national security advisor to then-Vice President Joe Biden in the Obama-Biden administration

The announcement, which is officially scheduled for Tuesday, showed Biden’s determination to press forward with assembling his administration despite President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the 2020 election.

The names revealed Monday reunite a group of former senior officials from the Obama White House, though many have worked with and known Biden for years.

The nominees also are also a reflection of Biden standing by his commitment to promote diversity at the highest levels of the U.S. government.

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