The Hill: Five things to know about Antony Blinken, Biden’s pick for State

November 30, 2020

By Olivia Beavers and Laura Kelly

As deputy secretary of State during the Obama administration, one of Blinken’s final – and more memorable moments depending on who you ask – was held out of public view at the agency’s holiday party, where he took up the guitar in the State Department’s band to play a riff on a Bob Dylan tune, with the lyrics changed in a tribute to staff.

“He’s been playing with his colleagues in government for some time,” said Halie Soifer, who served at the State Department under Blinken.

Also in the band was Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), who at the time was serving as Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

Blinken, when accepting his nomination for secretary of State in Delaware on Tuesday, thanked his “bandmates” alongside his colleagues in the Obama and Clinton administrations, the Senate and the State Department.

“That’s really what it symbolized. He wasn’t just a leader as deputy secretary, in terms of making decisions at the top, he was a leader in terms of supporting the entire building,” Soifer said.