Tony Blinken will face a Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday afternoon, the last day in which Republicans have full control of the Senate and are able to lead the discussion.
Blinken is a veteran of the Clinton and Obama administrations, and has been an analyst for CNN. He represents much of the faulty conventional wisdom that remained unchallenged in the foreign policy establishment until President Donald Trump.
Here are seven key facts about him that could be addressed:
1. Blinken pushed the “Russia collusion” hoax on CNN. Blinken is one of several members of Joe Biden’s foreign policy team who endorsed the destructive conspiracy theory that Trump was in cahoots with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He told CNN in 2017: “The president’s ongoing collusion with Russia’s plans is really striking, intentional or not.” He added that Trump’s criticism of the FBI or Special Counsel Robert Mueller meant he was “doing Mr. Putin’s bidding.”
2. Blinken is weak on China. Blinken said as recently as September that it would be a “mistake” to “fully decouple” from China — despite China’s abuse of trade agreements, its aggression in the western Pacific, its human rights abuses, and its geopolitical ambitions. In July, Blinken promised that Biden would “engage China and work with China, in areas where our interests clearly overlap.” He included “climate change” and “global health and pandemics” as areas for cooperation.
3. Blinken praised “open borders” in Germany. In 2016, as then-candidate Donald Trump was campaigning on the promise to secure U.S. borders against mass migration, Blinken praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel for opening her country’s borders to large numbers of Syrian refugees. He portrayed Trump’s pledge to build a wall on the southern U.S. border as an example of xenophobia, equating open borders with western values of “tolerance and openness.”
4. Blinken apologized to anti-Israel radical Linda Sarsour. Many — even on the left — consider Sarsour antisemitic for her association with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, and for barring pro-Israel Jewish women from the Women’s March. After Sarsour participated in a Democratic National Convention event last summer, the Biden campaign publicly distanced itself from her. But Blinken apologized to her privately: “My apologies for what we did and what happened.”
5. Blinken advised major Big Tech companies and other Wall Street corporations. The Biden campaign has pushed Silicon Valley to restrict the free speech of conservatives, and has applauded the ongoing censorship of the president and many of his supporters. As Breitbart News noted earlier this month, Blinken founded WestEx Advisors, which worked with Facebook and LinkedIn, among others. He earned more than one million dollars over the past two years in that role.
6. Blinken backed the Iraq War — then backed a plan to divide the country. Blinken, who worked for then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, advised his boss to vote to authorize war in Iraq. As the war effort stalled, Blinken reportedly “helped craft Mr. Biden’s proposal in the Senate to create three autonomous regions in Iraq, partitioned by ethnic or sectarian identity, which was widely rejected,” the New York Times reported.
7. Blinken helped shape President Barack Obama’s failed Iran policy. As deputy secretary of state under Obama, Blinken was “an influential behind-the-scenes player in the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program,” the Times noted, setting up a deal that would allow Iran to become a nuclear power. Blinken criticized Trump for leaving the deal: “By blowing up up the Iran nuclear deal President Trump puts us on a collision course with Iran and our closest allies.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is How Not to Be a Sh!thole Country: Lessons from South Africa. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.