As Antony Blinken was revealed to be presumed US president-elect Joe Biden’s likely pick for secretary of state, a past report detailing the diplomat’s business dealings and career has the Democrat’s supporters on the defensive.
Blinken was revealed to be Biden’s expected pick on Monday by sources inside the Democrat’s transition team, according to media reports. A long-time Biden ally, he served as the number-two National Security Advisor and the deputy State Secretary during Barack Obama’s eight years in the White House. The official announcement of Blinken as the next administration’s foreign affairs head honcho is expected on Tuesday.
Despite being a veteran official, and a fairly prominent one at that, Blinken has not been a household name among Democratic Party supporters. That quickly changed on Monday as he began trending nationwide on Twitter as Americans dissected the details of his career.
With the sudden attention came fresh scrutiny with the resurfacing of a July report in The American Prospect, which, according to editor David Dayen, described Blinken as “getting rich working for corporate clients at a pop-up strategic consultancy,” after he left the Obama administration.
— David Dayen (@ddayen) November 23, 2020
The article highlighted Blinken’s work at the firm WestExec, tasked with “helping new companies navigate the complex bureaucracy of winning Pentagon contracts.” The author, Jonathan Guyer, posited that it might be problematic for the Biden campaign’s foreign policy team and potential future cabinet members to have such “connections to corporate power.”
While the Prospect’s criticism of Blinken was fairly mild, Biden’s supporters on social media made it clear that they would be having none of it. They instantly dismissed concerns over his corporate connections “stupid,” describing it simply as “having a job.”
“Blinken participated in society. The horror,” wrote prominent tweeter and Vox journalist Aaron Rupar.
“You wanted him to sink into poverty?” tweeted another Biden fan.
Blinken participated in society. The horror. https://t.co/JaJiAeF6X8
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 23, 2020
Stupid. He was already wealthy. Why not give Biden a chance instead of aiding and abetting the Trumpists. https://t.co/pAEry7b2hq
— Robert Shrum (@BobShrum) November 23, 2020
Oh, you wanted him to sink into poverty? Go on unemployment? Of course he set about earning a living.
— Lioness 💙🐝💙🌈💙#TeamPete (@LolLioness) November 23, 2020
Having a job is bad now? https://t.co/sN9dvz3xgz
— Team Petty Headlines™ 💛🐝 (@PettyHeadlines1) November 23, 2020
The rush to defend Biden and Blinken then provoked a backlash in its own right, as other commenters complained about what they saw as a disregard for corruption motivated by partisan sentiment. One called on the “vitriol directed at journalists” merely for criticizing or highlighting facts about a Democratic politician.
“Wouldn’t have Trump [in office] without people like Aaron making excuses for every Democratic failure,” progressive pundit Briahna Joy Gray replied to Rupar.
Wouldn’t have Trump without people like Aaron making excuses for every Democratic failure, lowering the bar and clearing the field for the country to ratchet right again and again. https://t.co/4pWYrKfod2
— BJG 👑 (@briebriejoy) November 23, 2020
thank you for doing journalism
— Virgilgrim Texas 🦃🍂🏈 (@virgiltexas) November 23, 2020
The amount of vitriol directed at journalists pointing out the careers of people tapped for powerful cabinet posts bodes well for democracy, I think https://t.co/vLnIvneykl
— Kate Aronoff (@KateAronoff) November 23, 2020
Many self-identified Dems on this website have mustered more ferocious anger at @ddayen than at Trump. Dayen’s unforgivable crime: previously publishing a critical story on a Biden nominee. https://t.co/xcJZasF0KP
— David Sirota (@davidsirota) November 23, 2020
Some commenters were immediately put off by the Blinken report, calling his employment history “sickening stuff,” dreading corporate cozy “swamp” that the future Biden administration could be.
Sickening stuff, and the replies/quote-tweets—toxic centrist trolls celebrating a return to the “normalcy” of war profiteering/graft, and spitting venom at the journalists covering it—is a peek at the grotesqueries ahead. https://t.co/C8XlHZ7dtv
— Eli Valley (@elivalley) November 23, 2020
From a toxic cesspool right back to the swamp. Can we do better than either one of these options? Can we?
— Rockefeller, The Christmas Tree Owl! (@OLegarq) November 23, 2020
Despite that, there were those who seemed completely unbothered by Blinken’s career shift, calling it “good ole capitalism”.
That’s good ole capitalism right there. Also you’re out of touch with reality David. https://t.co/LvJMEoHQYt
— Jim Rooney (@roon0292) November 23, 2020
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