US President Joe Biden’s nominee for ambassador to the United Nations was approved by the US Senate on Tuesday.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield will be Biden’s first ambassador to the UN. Richard Mills has served as acting permanent representative while Thomas-Greenfield was awaiting confirmation. She was confirmed by a 78-20 vote.
Thomas-Greenfield outlined her vision for Middle East policy during her confirmation hearings. She said she would work to return Iran to compliance with the nuclear agreement and strengthen the Abraham Accords agreements between Israel and Arab states. The lopsided vote tally indicates several Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, voted in her favor in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Some Republicans who voted to confirm, including ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Jim Risch of Idaho, said they supported Thomas-Greenfield in spite of differences on Iran.
Much of the Republican opposition to Thomas-Greenfield focused on China. Some Republican senators perceived her to be too deferential toward Beijing, mostly based on a speech she gave at the Chinese state-owned Confucius Institute in 2019. Thomas-Greenfield praised China’s development policies in Africa in the speech without mentioning human rights concerns associated with the People’s Republic on the continent. She later apologized for her remarks.