Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), President Biden’s fellow Delawarean and his closest ally in the Senate, may also be emerging as a “shadow” secretary of state, Politico writes.
He did, after all, just return from Ethiopia, where he met with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to discuss the allegations of atrocities in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region. Coons told Politico the meeting was “positive and purposeful,” and Abiy did admit for the first time after meeting with Coons that Eritrean soldiers had crossed the border into Ethiopia, while also acknowledging reports that both Eritrean and Ethiopian soldiers have carried out war crimes. It’s unclear whether Coons influenced Abiy’s thinking, but the timing checks out.
Despite his satisfaction with the trip, however, Coons just seems happy to help out Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken when Blinken has his hands full, as he does right now. “If I’m able to play a small role in advancing our shared priorities,” Coons said, “I’m very happy to.”
Coons dismissed the idea that there will be any “territorial friction” between him and Blinken if he continues to play an active role in the White House’s foreign policy, Politico reports, but some of his Senate colleagues, Democrats and Republicans alike, think he could eventually step into the role permanently if Blinken leaves at some point down the road (there’s no indication of that happening.) Senators said leading the State Department would come easily to Coons, a Foreign Relations Committee member, and he would likely get more than 90 votes at a hypothetical confirmation hearing. Read more at Politico.