Nominated Secretary of State Anthony Blinken recounted his late stepfather’s experience as a Holocaust survivor.
https://www.jpost.com-By OMRI NAHMIAS
The president-elect said that in calls from world leaders that he had since he won the election, he has been “struck by how much they’re looking forward to the United States, reasserting its historic role as a global leader.”
He introduced Antony Blinken, his nominee for secretary of state, and said that he will “rebuild morale and trust in the state department where his career in government began.”
“Tony is one of my closest and most trusted advisors,” Biden noted. “I know him and his family, immigrants and refugees, a Holocaust survivor who taught him to never take for granted the very idea of America as a place of possibilities.” He said that Blinken would be “ready on day one.”
Blinken thanked Biden in his speech, and shared a story about his late stepfather, Samuel Pisar. “He was one of 900 children in his school in Bialystok, Poland, but the only one to survive the Holocaust,” Blinken said.
“After four years in concentration camps, at the end of the war, he made a break from a death March into the woods in Bavaria, from his hiding place he heard a deep rumbling sound. It was a tank, but instead of the iron cross, he saw painted on its side, a five pointed white star,” Blinken continued. “He ran to the tank, the hatch opened, an African-American GI looked down at him. He got down on his knees and said the only three words that he knew in English that his mother had taught him before the war. God bless America. That’s who we are. That’s what America represents to the world.”
The president-elect also praised his pick to serve as ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
“She was our top state department official in charge of African policy during the Ebola crisis, she received overwhelming support from her fellow career foreign service officers, and she will be a cabinet status because I want to hear her voice on all the major foreign policy discussions we have,” said Biden.
Thomas-Greenfield, a veteran career diplomat, addressed her fellow colleagues, and said: “I want to say to you, America is back. Multilateralism is back. Diplomacy is back.”
“The challenges we face – a global pandemic, global economy, the global climate change crisis, mass migration and extreme poverty, social justice are unrelenting and interconnected, but they’re not unresolvable if America is leading the way,” she added.
Introducing his national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, Biden said that “he’s once in a generation intellect with experience and temperament for one of the toughest jobs in the world.”
He also praised Sullivan for help brokering a ceasefire in Gaza in 2012 and negotiating the Iran nuclear agreement.
Introducing John Kerry as climate czar, Biden said that the United States would have a full-time climate leader and participate in ministerial level meetings for the first time. “For the first time ever, there’ll be a principal on the national security council who can make sure climate change is on the agenda in the situation room.”
“The world would know that with one of my closest friends, John Kerry, he is speaking for America on one of the most pressing threats of our time,” Biden added.
Kerry thanked Biden in his speech and said that to end the climate crisis, “the whole world must come together.”
“You are right to rejoin Paris [climate accords] on day one,” he said. “And you’re right to recognize that Paris alone is not enough. At the global meeting in Glasgow one year from now, all nations must breeze ambition together, or we will all fail together. And failure is not an option.”