US election 2020: Biden presents team as Trump allows transition

US President-elect Joe Biden is formally introducing the first people he has chosen for his cabinet, as the transition of power gathers pace.

Many of the choices, already announced, are Mr Biden’s colleagues from his years in the Obama administration.

John Kerry will be climate envoy, while foreign policy veteran Antony Blinken is nominated for secretary of state.

President Donald Trump has finally agreed that the transition process should start, after weeks of wrangling.

The General Services Administration (GSA), the federal agency overseeing the handover, said it was now acknowledging Mr Biden as the “apparent winner” of the 3 November election.

The move grants the Democrat access to millions of dollars in funds, as well as access to national security briefings and government officials, so he can properly prepare to take over the presidency on 20 January.

Mr Trump said the GSA must “do what needs to be done”, but still refuses to concede the election, repeating unsubstantiated claims of a “rigged election”.

In a very brief appearance in the White House press room on Tuesday, Mr Trump praised the work of his administration, hailed the Dow Jones stock index for passing the 30,000 mark and left without taking questions.

Mr Biden is projected to beat President Trump by 306 votes to 232 in the US electoral college when it meets to formally confirm the winner on 14 December. This is far above the 270 votes he needs.

On Tuesday, Governor Tom Wolf said he had certified the victory of Mr Biden in Pennsylvania, one of the key swing states. Another, Michigan, certified the same result on Monday.

A statement from the transition team said those being nominated “are experienced, crisis-tested leaders who are ready to hit the ground running on day one”.

It said: “These officials will start working immediately to rebuild our institutions, renew and re-imagine American leadership to keep Americans safe at home and abroad, and address the defining challenges of our time – from infectious disease, to terrorism, nuclear proliferation, cyber threats, and climate change.”

The transition website has now switched to a .gov domain.

It is not yet clear when Mr Biden will be given his first classified national security briefing as incoming president. The so-called Presidential Daily Brief gives Mr Trump details of the latest international threats and developments.

Mr Biden revealed his key picks for his national security and foreign policy teams on Monday. Almost all of the top posts will require Senate approval.

  • Antony Blinken was nominated as secretary of state – the most important foreign policy position. He is expected to manage a Biden foreign policy agenda that will emphasise re-engaging with Western allies
  • Ex-US Secretary of State John Kerry will lead the incoming administration’s effort to combat climate change. He was one of the leading architects of the Paris climate agreement, which President Trump withdrew from. Mr Kerry will not require Senate approval
  • Avril Haines, a former deputy director of the CIA, was nominated as the first female director of national intelligence
  • Alejandro Mayorkas was the first Latino nominated to serve as secretary of homeland security. He previously served as deputy secretary of homeland security under President Obama
  • Jake Sullivan was named White House national security adviser. This does not require Senate approval. Mr Sullivan served as Mr Biden’s national security adviser during Mr Obama’s second term
  • Long-time diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield was nominated US ambassador to the UN. She also served under President Obama, including as assistant secretary of state for African affairs between 2013 and 2017
  • Reports say former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen will be the choice for treasury secretary

Source: bbc.com

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