John Kerry says he won’t resign from top diplomatic post as US election looms
Posted On August 9, 2021
The top US diplomat for international security and disarmament said Sunday he will stay on in a job that allows him to advise the secretary of state on international issues and serve as a liaison between the president and Congress.
Kerry, a Democrat, said he will continue serving as a regular presence in the Oval Office during the inauguration, though he said he has plans to take a leave of absence after President-elect Donald Trump takes office.
The State Department is run by an appointee who will be confirmed by the Senate, and the Trump transition team has said that Kerry, along with the other four officials nominated for secretary of State, will serve a four-year term.
But Kerry told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he will remain in his current role, saying he will “always be an advocate for diplomacy.”
“The fact that I’m going to be the one who’s making policy is not a decision that I make lightly,” Kerry said.
“The fact of the matter is, I am going to keep on doing that.”
The Obama administration has struggled to secure approval for the new nominee, who has never held diplomatic post, including as an ambassador.
The State Department has been slow to release details about Kerry’s background and has also struggled to fill other top posts that were vacated by the outgoing Obama administration.
In the last three weeks of his confirmation hearings, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is chaired by Republican Sen. Bob Corker, a key backer of Kerry’s nomination, asked for more information about Kerry and other nominees.
The panel also pressed for details on how Kerry was selected to fill the role.
After a hearing, Kerry said he had received feedback that the committee’s focus was not the nominee’s qualifications but rather the role the State Department had in his confirmation hearing.
“I have been encouraged by the responses from both Democrats and Republicans that were offered to me, and I look forward to continuing to do so in the future,” Kerry told reporters.
The department has said Kerry will continue to serve as ambassador to China, which has been one of the administration’s most critical foreign policy challenges.
The committee also grilled Kerry on his decision to attend an election-related ceremony with Chinese President Xi Jinping in May that the Chinese government denounced as a “hostile” act.
Kenny said that his decision was not a political endorsement of any candidate.
He said he was not aware of any specific complaints raised by China.
Kaine, who also served as ambassador during President George W. Bush’s administration, has criticized China’s aggressive behavior in the South China Sea, where it has expanded its territorial claims and built artificial islands to deny Beijing access to key sea lanes.
Kushner, who is Trump’s choice for secretary, has said he would like to see the US engage in diplomatic negotiations with China and has suggested the Trump administration would use economic sanctions to compel China to take steps to curb its territorial ambitions.