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U.S. President-Elect Biden Nominates Secretary of State With Hungarian Roots

Fanni Kaszás 2020.11.24.

Anthony Blinken, the son of the U.S. former ambassador to Budapest, has the chance to fill one of two of the most important foreign policy positions in the Biden administration, as he was the Foreign Policy Advisor in the presidential campaign to President-elect Joe Biden. On his mother’s side he has Hungarian roots – and his step-mother, Vera, is Hungarian as well. 

Anthony (Tony) Blinken is expected to take an important role on the team of future U.S. President Joe Biden. Recently, Reuters reported that Biden is expected to appoint his campaign Foreign Policy Advisor Blinken to the post of Secretary of State or White House National Security Advisor. Yesterday, Biden officially named several of his future cabinet nominees, including Blinken as the secretary of state. At the same time, Hungarian newspapers started to write about him because of his several Hungarian ties.

Blinken has Hungarian roots, on his mother, art expert Judith’s side, whose family was Jewish Hungarian – however, they emigrated to the United States a long time ago. Both Judith and Blinken’s grandparents were already born in the U.S. Not only Blinken’s mother, but his father, Donald Blinken, also has ties with Hungary. He was the U.S. Ambassador to Budapest between 1994 and 1998 during Bill Clinton’s presidency. However, Blinken’s father has close ties to U.S. financier George Soros‘ organizations, as together with Blinken’s stepmother Vera (also a Hungarian), he gave his name, and a substantial ‘permanent endowment’ to the Donald and Vera Blinken Open Society Archive (OSA) at Budapest’s Central European University. Following CEU’s forced move to Vienna in 2019, OSA remained in Budapest, while Blinken’s father remained an active emeritus member of CEU’s Board of Trustees.

CEU to Stay in Vienna Despite Favorable ECJ Ruling
CEU to Stay in Vienna Despite Favorable ECJ Ruling

On the heels of the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) ruling on Tuesday about the government’s “lex CEU,” CEU’s head commented that they would exercise their freedom, while George Soros continues to criticize the government. Ruling Fidesz blames the ‘Soros network’ and the left side, while the Budapest mayor would “happily” welcome back the “country’s most […]Continue reading

The 58-year-old Anthony Blinken studied law at Harvard and Columbia University. He began his career under the Clinton administration in the cabinet’s foreign policy department. He then joined Joe Biden’s team when Biden chaired the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and also participated in the president-elect’s campaign. Blinken was  the second man behind Secretary of State John Kerry under the Obama administration, so his nomination suggests that Biden intends to return to a foreign policy based on collaboration, rather than continuing Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ policy. With Blinken at the head of foreign affairs, the Biden government is expected to try to settle its relationship with Iran, rebuild relations with allied countries, and deal with tensions with China. Although Blinken was born in the U.S., he grew up in Paris, and is a believer in Atlantic collaboration and the strengthening of the European Union.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (l), French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (m) and US Deputy Foreign Minister Antony Blinken (r) line up with other politicians representing the international coalition against the Islamic State (IS) extremist Islamist organization, at a meeting in Paris, in 2015. (photo: Stephane de Sakutin/MTI/EPA/AFP pool/)

According to The Times, there are currently few on the staff who would be closer to the president-elect. “Tony Blinken is a real superstar, and that’s no hyperbole,” Joe Biden described Blinken in an interview with the Washington Post in 2013. So, over the next four years he is expected to have plenty of say in U.S. policy, even as a national security consultant. Under Obama’s presidency, Blinken worked as a deputy national security adviser and had a major impact on U.S. policy on Syria and Iraq. The importance of his political role is also indicated by the fact that he was also present nine years ago at the White House meeting where Barack Obama, then-President, V.P. Biden, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, along with the Army’s top four-star generals, decided the death sentence of Osama bin Laden.

This is not the first time that President-elect Joe Biden is tied to Hungary. Biden and his second wife, Jill, spent their honeymoon at Lake Balaton in 1976, facilitated by Biden’s close friend, Hungarian-born Representative Tom Lantos, who was the only Holocaust survivor ever elected to the United States Congress.

featured photo: Carolyn Kaster/MTI/AP