Skip to content

Menendez Statement on Biden-Harris National Security Cabinet Announcement

NEWARK – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after President-elect Joe Biden announced his intention to nominate Antony Blinken as Secretary of State, Alejandro Mayorkas as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence, Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations,. Along with those nominations, Jake Sullivan was named as National Security Advisor and former Secretary of State John Kerry as the first-ever Presidential Envoy for Climate:

“I am incredibly pleased to see President-elect Biden send a clear message of hope and support for American values to the world in choosing candidates who possess the qualifications, the demeanor, and the temperament to serve in leadership positions and represent the American people at home and abroad. This diverse group of individuals will continue their lifelong dedication to public service.

Secretary Tony Blinken arrives well-versed in the intricacies and importance of the State Department – as well as the most significant national security issues this nation has faced in a generation. As the former Staff Director of the Foreign Relations Committee, Deputy Secretary of State, and a close confidant and national security team member for the Obama-Biden administration, Tony has earned his reputation as hard-working, studious, and as a leading thinker on foreign policy.

Alejandro Mayorkas, a Cuban-American immigrant, is a smart and natural pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security.  He has the subject matter experience to take on the enormous job of cleaning up after the disastrous and inhumane immigration policies that have torn lives and families apart under the Trump Administration.  There is much work to be done in restoring the reputation and credibility of the Department and he is the right man for the job.  

Avril Haines is exceptionally well-qualified to be the next Director of National Intelligence, based on her performance as Deputy Director of the CIA and as Principal Deputy National Security Advisor. She is also well known to the Foreign Relations Committee, as our former Deputy Chief Counsel and a former senior State Department lawyer. Avril’s experience, intellect, values and work ethic will make her an exceptional DNI.  

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield represents the best of our Foreign Service professionals, who dedicate their lives to serving the American people and strengthening the institutions they lead. As Ambassador, Assistant Secretary, and Director of the Foreign Service, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield will bring extraordinary experience to her new role and will be an excellent representative to the United Nations.  

Jake Sullivan is a respected American foreign policy strategist who has served this nation with distinction.  Most importantly, Mr. Sullivan has been a leading proponent of utilizing Americas founding democratic values as a core component of our national security.

Secretary John Kerry has been an internationally recognized, outspoken advocate for uniting the world to fight climate change since long before he served as Secretary of State. The United States must again claim the mantle of leading the fight against a truly global existential threat.  

As the current administration insists on eroding support for democracy, good governance, transparency, and human rights around the world, the Biden administration needs to swiftly enact a national security agenda grounded in the promotion of these very values across the State Department and the world.  I look forward to learning about their plan to reinvigorate our alliances and stand up to our adversaries; repair the State Department and other agencies, renew democracies around the world; revive American leadership on global challenges like global health, climate change, emerging technologies, nuclear proliferation, mass migration; and restore values on issues related to asylum and forced global migration, women and girls, and human rights and democracy.

There will be no shortage of global crises facing the incoming administration. Each will require a national security cabinet fully devoted to the job and completely committed to the relationship with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  

With the Senate majority hanging in the balance, I will be reaching out to Chairman Risch to ensure the Senate Foreign Relations Committee promptly schedules confirmation hearings and business meetings so that nominees may be considered expeditiously by the Senate.  It is in our national security interest to ensure the President-elect can have his cabinet of choice, especially as the State Department was decimated under the previous administration and needs to rebuild to manage global diplomacy and defend our national interest. The work to counter the massive loss of experience, knowledge, and relationships over the last four years cannot wait.”