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Senate confirms Linda Thomas-Greenfield as UN ambassador

February 23, 2021

The Senate voted 78-20 on Tuesday to confirm Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

The big picture: Thomas-Greenfield has promised to restore the U.S. role as a defender of human rights and will look to repair multilateral relationships that fractured under former President Trump. She will play a key role in the administration’s China strategy — her “highest priority,” she has said.

  • Thomas-Greenfield faced criticism during her confirmation hearing for comments she made while speaking at a Beijing-backed Confucius Institute in 2019.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) delayed the confirmation vote over Thomas-Greenfield’s remarks, Politico reports, concerned she will be soft on Beijing.
  • She said during her confirmation hearing that she regretted accepting the invitation and that she shared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s concerns about China’s “malign force” and “debt traps and tactics” in Africa.
  • She also pledged to defend Israel at the UN.

Background: A Foreign Service veteran, Thomas-Greenfield served as assistant secretary of state for African affairs in the State Department from 2013 to 2017.

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