— Domani Spero
[twitter-follow screen_name=’Diplopundit’ ]
The U.S. Senate confirmed Tony Blinken as deputy secretary of state on December 16 just before Congress adjourned. In early December, Newsweek reported that Senator John McCain was blocking the nomination, citing sharp disagreement with the nominee’s past statements on Iraq.
Via HuffPo: Blinken, whose nomination was nearly derailed by Republican opponents, skates into the office on a 55-38 vote as Democrats pushed dozens of President Barack Obama’s nominations through the upper chamber before losing their majority in the next Congress. The approval was thanks to Sen. Ted Cruz‘s (R-Texas) staunch opposition to the government spending bill, which kept senators in Washington for an extra few days before adjourning.
John Kerry gets a deputy — thanks to Ted Cruz http://t.co/C1ZQXcJOxI
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) December 17, 2014
Congrats to my close friend, Tony Blinken, the new Dep. Secretary of State. Admired in every corner of the world. -vp pic.twitter.com/ygOFZMyf4K
— Vice President Biden (@VP) December 16, 2014
Welcome back to @StateDept, Tony Blinken! Will be terrific as new Deputy Secretary.
— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) December 17, 2014
On November 7, President Obama released a statement on his nomination of Mr. Blinken:
I’m proud to nominate Antony Blinken to be our next Deputy Secretary of State. I’ve known and worked closely with Tony for the past decade, starting when I joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and he was its Staff Director. For the past six years, I’ve relied on Tony in the White House, where I’ve come to have extraordinary respect for his knowledge, judgment, and inclusive approach to developing and implementing our foreign policy. As everyone who knows and works with Tony can attest, he is a person of enormous integrity, with a tireless work ethic and deep love of country. He is exactly the type of person who we want to represent the United States of America overseas. If confirmed by the Senate, I know he will continue to do a great job on behalf of my Administration, Secretary Kerry and the American people.
The WH also released the following brief bio:
Antony Blinken is Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor, a position he has held since 2013. From 2009 to 2013, Mr. Blinken was Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor in the Office of the Vice President. Previously, he was Staff Director for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2002 to 2008. From 2001 to 2002, he was a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In the Clinton Administration, he served on the National Security Council staff as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs and as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Strategic Planning and Speechwriting. He also served as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs at the Department of State. Mr. Blinken received a B.A. from Harvard College and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.
Here is additional biographic details when he was appointed a key member of the Obama National Security Team after the 2008 presidential elections:
Antony “Tony” Blinken was appointed Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April 2002. From 1994 to 2001, Mr. Blinken served on the National Security Council staff at The White House. He was Senior Director for European Affairs (1999-2001) and Senior Director for Strategic Planning and NSC Senior Director for Speechwriting (1994-1998). He also served as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (1993 – 1994), and was a lawyer in New York and Paris. Mr. Blinken was a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (2001 to 2002) and a Senior Foreign Policy adviser to the Obama-Biden presidential campaign. He has been a reporter for The New Republic magazine and has written about foreign policy for numerous publications, including The New York Times and Foreign Affairs Magazine. He is the author Ally Verses Ally: America, Europe and the Siberian Pipeline Crisis (1987). Mr. Blinken is a graduate of Harvard College and Columbia Law School.
Of the four key members of the Obama National Security Team announced in 2008, only Tom Donilon has not assumed a key position in the State Department. James B. Steinberg was Deputy Secretary of State from 2009-2011, and Jack Lew was Deputy Secretary of State from 2009-2010. Mr. Donilon previously worked as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs from 1993 to 1996, and served as the Clinton administration’s Secretary of State’s chief of staff.
* * *