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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Good afternoon.  It is my great pleasure to welcome to the State Department for the very first time President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.  This is a particularly proud day for me.  I know it’s a proud day for everyone here at State.

It’s especially meaningful to have with us our newest class of Foreign Service officers joining us via video.  It’s great to see you all.  Thank you.  Thank you for being here with us today.  These women and men represent the extraordinary talent and diversity of America.  They’re the future of this department.  We’re thrilled that they have joined our team.

Our President and Vice President know how vital the State Department is to America’s security and prosperity.  And they know how committed the people of the Foreign Service and Civil Service are to serving our nation to the best of their ability every single day.

Mr. President, Madam Vice President, we are grateful to both of you for visiting us so early in the administration despite the remnants of snow outside.  We know that you want to make the State Department as strong as it possibly can be for our country.  And we know you’re counting on us to deliver excellence for the American people.  On behalf of everyone at State, I promise you we will not let you down.

Now a quick word about Vice President Harris.  She has dedicated her career to the security of the American people, as a district attorney, California attorney general, United States senator, and now as Vice President of the United States.  And she fully shares the President’s commitment to crafting a foreign policy that puts diplomacy first and that keeps our nation safe and delivers real results to the American people.

And so it’s my great pleasure to introduce to you the Vice President of the United States.

(Vice President Harris makes remarks.)

(Applause.)

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you so much, Madam Vice President.  And now just a brief word about President Biden.

No one has ever brought as much foreign policy expertise and experience to the presidency as Joe Biden.  For the two decades or so that I’ve worked for him, I’ve just been trying to keep up.  From Baghdad to Bagram, from Paris to Pretoria, to so many points in between, it’s been one of the great privileges and pleasures of my life to watch President Biden in action across the globe.  And I know from seeing him in action that he believes profoundly in leading with diplomacy, mobilizing our friends and allies to work together in common cause.

As important, he welcomes new ideas, dissenting views, rigorous debate.  He wants to ensure that our foreign policy stays innovative and creative, so it doesn’t just respond to global events; it actually helps to shape them.  Those are the instructions that I have from him.  That is what we are going to try to do here at the State Department.

And President Biden and Vice President Harris have made it clear that in everything we do, the first question we have to ask ourselves is this:  How is it going to benefit our fellow Americans?  How will this policy, how will this initiative, how will this outreach answer their needs, their values?  How will it make their lives just a little bit better?  That’s the first question we have to ask.  And we’re going to hold ourselves to that standard every step of the way.

We’re lucky to have this President and this Vice President at the helm during such a pivotal time for our nation and for the world.  And so it’s very much my honor today to introduce to you the President of the United States.  (Applause.)

(President Biden makes remarks.)

(Applause.)

U.S. Department of State

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