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AFP
November 25, 2020

Biden to introduce nominees

World

AFP
November 25, 2020

US President-elect Joe Biden is to formally introduce his nominees for top national security and foreign policy posts on Tuesday as the White House transition finally gets underway with Donald Trump effectively -- if not explicitly -- admitting defeat.

The green-lighting of the transition came after Michigan certified a Biden victory on Monday and more members of Trump’s Republican Party came out demanding the impasse end. Trump’s long-shot efforts to overturn the November 3 election results received a further blow on Tuesday when Pennsylvania certified that Biden had won the Keystone State.

Biden, 78, revealed his picks on Monday for secretary of state, national security advisor, secretary of homeland security, and other top administration posts. The president-elect and Senator Kamala Harris, the vice president-elect, are to publicly present the nominees to the press at a 1:00 pm (1800 GMT) event in Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

Trump, who has made few public appearances since his election defeat, was scheduled to attend a traditional Thanksgiving turkey-pardoning event at the White House. Biden’s public unveiling of his nominees comes after Trump signed off on the start of the White House transition while still refusing to concede the November 3 election.

The outgoing president acknowledged on Monday it was time for the General Services Administration (GSA) to unblock funding for the Biden transition team. Trump 74, continued to insist, however, that he would ultimately be declared the winner of the election despite having failed to present any credible evidence of fraud and suffering a string of humiliating defeats in court.

"Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail!" he tweeted late Monday. Trump continued in the same defiant vein on Tuesday.

"The GSA does not determine who the next President of the United States will be," he tweeted. He also retweeted a picture of himself in the Oval Office with the caption: "I concede NOTHING!!!!!"

The GSA determination that Biden is the apparent winner gives the president-elect access to classified briefings on national security threats and will allow his top aides to coordinate with federal health officials on addressing the worsening Covid-19 pandemic.

Unveiling the cabinet selections, the Biden team said they were "experienced, crisis-tested leaders who are ready to hit the ground running on day one." They will begin "working immediately" to address the defining challenges of our time -- from infectious disease to terrorism, nuclear proliferation, cyber threats and climate change," it said.

The slate unveiled by Biden includes veterans of the Barack Obama administration and signals a return to traditional US diplomacy. Former State Department number two Antony Blinken was tapped to be secretary of state while Jake Sullivan, who advised Biden when he was vice president under Obama, was nominated to be national security advisor.