The US Senate on Tuesday confirmed President Joe Biden’s candidate, veteran diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield, as US Ambassador to the United Nations, adding a key member to its national security team nearly a month after her hearing of confirmation.
The 100-member Senate backed Thomas-Greenfield 78 to 20 to be Washington’s representative on the world forum and a member of Biden’s cabinet, comfortably exceeding the necessary simple majority.
All the negative votes came from Republicans.
Thomas-Greenfield, 68, is a 35-year foreign service veteran who has served on four continents, most notably in Africa.
Republicans who opposed her nomination focused on a speech she gave in 2019 that some believed was favorable to Beijing. Thomas-Greenfield and his supporters fought back, citing his decades as a diplomat seeking to increase American influence and counter that of China.
During her confirmation hearing at the end of January, she stressed the importance of the United States’ re-engagement with the 193 members of the United Nations in order to challenge China’s efforts to “conduct an authoritarian agenda.”
China has worked to gain greater global influence in a challenge to traditional American leadership, often by making loans to developing countries in Africa and elsewhere that tie them closer to the Beijing government.
“Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield has a long history of voicing opposition to China’s use of debt trap tactics and its increasingly malignant presence in the bodies of global governance,” the Senator said. Democrat Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, calling for his support.
Tension between the two superpowers reached a boiling point at the United Nations last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, as former President Donald Trump, a Republican, withdrew the United States from international organizations in as part of its “America First” foreign policy program.
Biden underscored his support for multilateralism in foreign policy, not only by choosing a seasoned diplomat for the UN post, but by restoring him to a cabinet role.
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