Pope Francis Greets US Secretary of State

Anthony Blinken Spends 40 Minutes with Holy Father

Secretary of State
© Vatican Media

Pope Francis today received US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, in the Vatican.

Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See Press Office said the audience took place in a cordial atmosphere. He said it lasted about 40 minutes and that “it offered the Pope the occasion to recall his apostolic visit to the United States in 2015 and to express his affection for the people of America.”

Blinken’s audience with Pope Francis came during a diplomatic tour of European States, the first by a US Secretary of State under the Biden administration. It follows US President Joe Biden’s first presidential trip abroad on the occasion of the G7 meeting in Cornwall.

Blinken left Washington last Tuesday for Berlin, and continued on to Paris and Rome, meeting leading European Union figures including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Before meeting with the Pope and Vatican authorities, Blinken took part in talks aimed at bringing peace to Libya.

Antony J. Blinken is the 71st U.S. Secretary of State.

He was nominated by President Biden on November 23, 2020; confirmed by the U.S. Senate on January 26, 2021; and sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris the following day.

Blinken served as deputy secretary of state for President Barack Obama from 2015 to 2017, and before that, as President Obama’s principal deputy national security advisor. In that role, Mr. Blinken chaired the interagency deputies committee, the main forum for hammering out the administration’s foreign policy.

During the first term of the Obama Administration, Mr. Blinken was national security advisor to then-Vice President Joe Biden. This was the continuation of a long professional relationship that stretched back to 2002 when Blinken began his six-year stint as Democratic staff director for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Then-Senator Biden was the chair of that committee from 2001 to 2003 and 2007 to 2009.

During the Clinton Administration, Blinken served as a member of the National Security Council staff, including two years as the senior director for European affairs, the president’s principal advisor on the countries of Europe, the European Union, and NATO. He also spent four years as President Clinton’s chief foreign policy speechwriter, and he led the NSC’s strategic planning team.

Blinken’s public service began at the State Department. From 1993 to 1994, he was a special assistant in what was then called the Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs. Now he is proud to lead the department where he got his start in government nearly 30 years ago.