17:57 GMT20 January 2021
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    US President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Antony Blinken to be the next US secretary of state. Blinken served as deputy national security adviser between 2013 and 2015 and as deputy secretary of state between 2015 and 2017 under then-US President Barack Obama.

    On Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Blinken for the first time since the latter received the nomination to lead the State Department.

    In a Twitter statement, Pompeo confirmed the meeting, noting that he met with Blinken to “facilitate an orderly transition and to ensure American interests are protected abroad.” Pompeo, a stalwart supporter of Trump, also called the meeting between the two “productive.”

    Blinken and Pompeo were first set to meet in mid-December, according to sources, CNN reported. However, that meeting was canceled as a result of Pompeo going into quarantine after coming into contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19.

    Pompeo received widespread backlash after claiming last November that Trump would remain in office for another term after a reporter asked him whether the State Department was planning to work with the Biden transition team.

    "There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration," Pompeo said during a briefing on November 10, 2020, a week after the presidential election. 

    Although Pompeo has yet to acknowledge Biden as the president-elect in public statements, he appeared to hint at his departure in an interview with Bloomberg News this week.

    "After four years, I think we're leaving the world safer than when we came in,” Pompeo said during the interview.

    "I hope that the policies that we put in place will have the capacity to continue and whoever the next secretary of state is will begin to follow down this path in a way that recognizes the threat from the Chinese Communist Party, that honors the work that we have done to push back against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the two states with the capacity to inflict real harm on the United States of America," he added.

    Blinken was one of the first Cabinet nominees announced by Biden. However, his Senate confirmation hearing has not yet been scheduled.

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    Tags:
    Donald Trump, Antony Blinken, Mike Pompeo, Joe Biden
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