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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Senate confirms Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be U.N. ambassador and Tom Vilsack to be agriculture secretary.

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed two of President Biden’s cupboard nominees, giving approval for Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a veteran diplomat, to grow to be the US ambassador to the United Nations and Tom Vilsack to grow to be agriculture secretary.

Ms. Thomas-Greenfield’s affirmation, by a vote of 78 to twenty, comes as Mr. Biden’s administration seeks to grow to be a extra lively pressure within the United Nations after American retreat through the Trump administration. Her new place is the newest chapter in an increase that began in her birthplace of Louisiana, the place she attended segregated faculties and skilled a childhood, within the early Nineteen Fifties, punctuated by racial rigidity.

The Senate voted 92 to 7 to substantiate Mr. Vilsack, 70, a former governor of Iowa who served because the agriculture secretary below former President Barack Obama for eight years and can now return to that place in Mr. Biden’s administration.

As America’s prime consultant to the United Nations, Ms. Thomas-Greenfield, 68, has said she’s going to set about restoring alliances and re-engaging in multilateral efforts to handle international issues just like the coronavirus pandemic.

“America is again,” Ms. Thomas-Greenfield mentioned when Mr. Biden introduced her nomination in November, echoing a theme of Mr. Biden’s in talks with different world leaders. “Multilateralism is again. Diplomacy is again.”

Ms. Thomas-Greenfield joined the overseas service in 1982. From 2008 to 2012, she served as ambassador to Liberia, earlier than turning into the director basic of the overseas service for a few 12 months. From 2013 to 2017, she served as the highest United States diplomat for African affairs, the place she helped oversee the response to the Ebola epidemic. In 2017, she was among the many diplomats pushed out of the department by Rex W. Tillerson, a former secretary of state.

Throughout her tenure, she turned identified for what she calls “Gumbo Diplomacy,” referring to the Cajun dish she usually ready alongside her overseas counterparts to interrupt down limitations throughout diplomatic conversations.

Republicans lawmakers on Capitol Hill have expressed some concern, most notably round a speech she gave in October 2019 on African nations’ relationships with each China and the US.

Within the speech, at Savannah State College, she extolled the advantages of American cooperation with China in cultivating strengthened relations with the growing nations of Africa, one among her most important areas of experience.

The speech was conspicuously missing any criticism of China’s human-rights document or sample of predatory-lending practices in growing nations determined for funding. It was sponsored by the Confucius Institute, a Chinese language authorities instructional group that American officers have accused of spreading pro-China propaganda in faculties in the US and elsewhere.

Ms. Thomas-Greenfield expressed regret for having agreed to make the speech however strongly contested the criticism of her views. “In case you take a look at what I’ve accomplished previous to that,” she mentioned, “there isn’t a query that I’m not in any respect naïve about what the Chinese language are doing and I’ve referred to as them out frequently.”

Thomas Kaplan contributed reporting.

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