Senate Confirms Thomas-Greenfield As Ambassador To United Nations
(Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed President Joe Biden’s candidate, veteran diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield, as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and added a key member to its national security team almost a month after her hearing.
The 100-member Senate supported Thomas Greenfield 78 to 20 to serve as Washington’s representative on the world council and a member of the Biden cabinet, well above the required simple majority.
All of the no-votes came from Republicans.
Thomas-Greenfield, 68, is a 35-year foreign service veteran who has served on four continents, particularly Africa.
Republicans who opposed their nomination focused on a 2019 speech that some described as favorable to Beijing. Thomas-Greenfield and her followers pushed back, citing her decades as a diplomat in an attempt to increase US influence and counter China.
At her confirmation hearing in late January, she stressed the importance of renewed US engagement with the 193 members of the United Nations to challenge China’s efforts to “advance an authoritarian agenda.”
China has worked to gain greater global leverage on a challenge for traditional US leadership, often by providing loans to developing countries in Africa and elsewhere that tie them more closely to the Beijing government.
“Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield has a long history of outspoken opposition to China’s use of debt-trap tactics and its increasingly vicious presence on world government bodies,” said Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as he urged support.
Tensions between the two superpowers reached a boiling point at the United Nations over the coronavirus pandemic last year when then-President Donald Trump, a Republican, withdrew the United States from international organizations as part of his America First foreign policy agenda.
Democrat Biden has emphasized his support for multilateralism in foreign policy by not only selecting an experienced diplomat for the UN post, but also by restoring him to a cabinet role.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, additional reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)