January 25, 2021

Menendez Remarks Ahead of SFRC Approval of Antony Blinken to Serve as Secretary of State

“We cannot afford any delay before putting Mr. Blinken in office. The world is on fire right now, with pressing crises in every region and hemisphere, and with the COVID-19 pandemic taking more lives every day.”

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.)incoming Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, delivered the following remarks at this evening’s Committee business meeting calling for the confirmation of Antony Blinken to serve as Secretary of State. Mr. Blinken’s nomination now moves to the Floor for consideration by the full Senate.
"I believe [Secretary Blinken] is the right person to repair and restore our alliances to reinvigorate the relationship between the State Department and Congress… Throughout almost 5 hours of testimony last week, he displayed both his extensive knowledge and his thoughtfulness,” said Senator Menendez. “I look forward to hopefully getting a positive vote for Mr. Blinken today from both sides. The world is on fire right now, with pressing crises in every region and hemisphere, and with the COVID-19 pandemic taking more lives every day."

Below are Ranking Member Menendez’s full remarks as delivered:

“Mr. Chairman, very briefly, first of all, thank you for working with me to put Mr. Blinken in the positon to be reported out to the Senate. I hope we will take him up tomorrow.

He is highly qualified and well-prepared to be the next Secretary of State. He is well-known to us at the Committee – he has previously been confirmed by the Senate to be the Deputy Secretary of State. He has served as the Staff Director of this Committee on Foreign Relations.

I believe he is the right person to repair and restore our alliances to reinvigorate the relationship between the State Department and Congress. We heard that in his testimony last year – his willingness across both sides of the aisle to engage with members and make commitments to continue to be engaged.

Throughout almost 5 hours of testimony last week, he displayed both his extensive knowledge and his thoughtfulness.

And as I said last week on the Floor, the American people expect, and the Constitution requires, that we provide advice and consent to ensure that our top national security officials are confirmed in a timely matter. The office of the Secretary of State is one of the most important national security positions in the government. It is fourth in the presidential line of succession. It cannot be left vacant.

I look forward to hopefully getting a positive vote for Mr. Blinken today from both sides. The world is on fire right now, with pressing crises in every region and hemisphere, and with the COVID-19 pandemic taking more lives every day.

Just last week, we received a word of a horrific massacre in Ethiopia along the Sudanese border, which threatens the stability of Africa’s second-most populous country. There will be more calamities like this, more emergencies that call for U.S. leadership, engagement, and response. We cannot allow the State Department to be rudderless because the truth is, without U.S. leadership, China and Russia will act to fill that vacuum. 

I ask and urge my colleagues to support the nomination.”

###

Press Contact

Juan Pachon