President-elect Joe Biden says the United States will be “ready to lead” again on the global stage.
Vowing to turn the page on President Donald Trump’s unilateralist policies, Mr Biden has pledged to work together with America’s allies.
Introducing his new foreign policy and national security team, the Democratic former vice-president signalled he intended after taking office on January 20 to steer the United States away from the “America First” nationalism pursued by Mr Trump.
The Republican incumbent has unsettled many US allies, in Europe and elsewhere, with an antagonistic approach toward the NATO alliance and trade relations, abandonment of international agreements and warm relationships with authoritarian leaders.
Mr Biden said his team, which includes trusted aide Antony Blinken as his nominee for US secretary of state, would shed “old thinking and unchanged habits” in its approach to foreign relations.
“It’s a team that reflects the fact that America is back, ready to lead the world, not retreat from it, once again sit at the head of the table, ready to confront our adversaries and not reject our allies, ready to stand up for our values,” Biden said in Wilmington, Delaware.
The world is much changed as Democrats return to the White House. China is rising and emboldened, Russia has sought to further assert its clout, US influence has waned and American moral authority has been dented by turmoil at home.
Mr Biden also has tapped Jake Sullivan as national security adviser, Linda Thomas-Greenfield as US ambassador to the United Nations, Alejandro Mayorkas as secretary of homeland security and John Kerry as climate envoy. They appeared with Biden and underscored his message.
His promise to embrace alliances, including in the Asia-Pacific region, follows a deterioration in bilateral ties between the United States and China that has triggered comparisons to the Cold War.
Mr Biden has moved swiftly to assemble his team after defeating Mr Trump in the November 3 election. Mr Trump has waged a flailing legal battle to try to overturn the results, falsely claiming the election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud.
Mr Biden was speaking less than 24 hours Emily Murphy, the administrator of the General Services Administration, formally designated Mr Biden as the apparent winner of the presidential election.
Ms Murphy’s announcement came even as the outgoing president continued in his refusal to concede defeat after losing the election earlier this month.
“We’re going to not be so far behind the curve as we thought we might be in the past,” Mr Biden told NBC News.
“There’s a lot of immediate discussion and I must say the outreach has been sincere.”
Mr Biden urged the Senate to give his nominees who require confirmation “a prompt hearing” and expressed hope he could work with Republicans “in good faith to move forward for the country”.
Some Republican senators, however, indicated they may stand in the way of his appointments. Marco Rubio, a foreign relations committee member, wrote on Twitter that Mr Biden’s cabinet picks “will be polite & orderly caretakers of America’s decline”.
Two run-off elections in Georgia on January 5 will determine which party has a Senate majority.
Mr Trump has said he will never concede but in another sign he has all but accepted his loss, he gave the go-ahead for Mr Biden to start receiving the president’s daily intelligence briefing.
Pennsylvania became the latest pivotal state on Tuesday (local time) to certify that Mr Biden had won. In Nevada, the Supreme Court confirmed Mr Biden had won the state, sending the results to the governor for final certification.
Trump set to pardon Flynn
Meanwhile, Mr Trump has told allies he plans to pardon his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, a source familiar with the situation says.
The source says Mr Trump could still change his mind on the planned pardon, which was first reported by Axios.
Mr Flynn, a retired army general, pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about interactions he had had with Russia’s ambassador to the United States in the weeks before Trump took office.
But he has since sought to withdraw the plea, arguing prosecutors violated his rights and duped him into a plea agreement.
Mr Trump earlier emerged from his self-imposed isolation continue one long-held tradition: the pardoning of a Thanksgiving turkey.
Mr Trump offered his presidential reprieve to a 19-kilogram turkey named Corn, who will escape an American dinner table to live a life free of fear of getting the chop.