With Hillary Clinton leaving the State Department in January, and with his first pick Susan Rice having dropped out of the nomination process, President Obama today officially nominated Senator John Kerry to become the next Secretary of State. Kerry’s nomination is expected to sail through with little objection, meaning we get to see plenty of Kerry’s ugly mug in the next four years. Joy.
Obama, making the announcement as Kerry and his wife looked on, praised the senator’s “extraordinarily distinguished Senate career” and military service “with valor” in the Vietnam War. “Over these many years, John’s earned the respect and confidence of leaders around the world. He is not going to need a lot of on-the-job-training,” Obama said. “I think it is fair to say that few individuals know as many presidents and prime ministers or grasp our foreign policies as firmly as John Kerry, and this makes him a perfect choice to guide American diplomacy in the years ahead.”
Kerry has traveled the globe on behalf of the Obama administration to mend frayed relationships. Most notably, he traveled to Pakistan after relations had been set back by a series of incidents, including the raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
“John’s played a central role in every major foreign policy debate for nearly 30 years,” Obama said. “As we turn the page on a decade of war, he understands that we have to harness all elements of American power and ensure that they’re working together, diplomatic and development, economic and political, military and intelligence as well as the power of our values which inspires so many people around the world.”
Obama said Kerry has earned the respect and trust of his Senate colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans, and the president said he’s confident the Senate will swiftly confirm the nomination. Clinton was not present for the announcement because she is still recovering from a concussion, but she issued a statement calling the pick “excellent.”
Clinton said Kerry has been her “trusted partner on major foreign policy challenges.” She said he helped end the war in Iraq and advocate a “responsible transition in Afghanistan. He helped get important legislation for Pakistan and win ratification with Russia of the New START Treaty.
“John Kerry has been tested — in war, in government, and in diplomacy. Time and again, he has proven his mettle,” she said. “Senator Kerry has fought for our nation’s diplomats and development experts — and for investing in their mission and America’s global leadership.