Biden appoints 9 appointed ambassadors, including ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, but posts in Europe and Asia are yet to come
(CNN) – US President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced his candidates for ambassadorial positions to Israel, Mexico, NATO and several other positions, including Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III to represent the United States in an international council for civil aviation safety.
On the eve of its summit in Geneva with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the White House has revealed the names of nine candidate ambassadors, leaving many of the world’s most prominent positions still vacant.
Tom Nides, former deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration and longtime Morgan Stanley executive, will be appointed ambassador to Israel.
Former Colorado Senator Ken Salazar, who served as Home Secretary in the Obama administration, will be named the first US diplomat in Mexico.
Julianne Smith, Biden’s former deputy national security adviser when he was vice president, will be appointed ambassador to NATO.
The White House on Tuesday released the names of the nine ambassadors named in a statement from Washington. The list included career foreign service officers who were to be appointed ambassadors to Paraguay, Costa Rica and Guinea, Sri Lanka and The Gambia.
High-level positions in Europe, Asia and beyond are not on the list published Tuesday. The White House is still finishing the process of verifying several people Biden has decided on, officials said, but the process is not yet complete.
Sullenberger was a prominent Biden supporter and last year criticized former President Donald Trump as “completely unfit” to hold office. He will be appointed to represent the United States on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization.
All candidates go through confirmation hearings in the heavily divided Senate, meaning none of the ambassadors are likely to be in office until late summer or early fall.
The other candidates are: Julie Chung, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; Sharon L. Cromer, for the United States Ambassador to the Republic of The Gambia; Troy Damian Fitrell, for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Guinea; Marc Ostfield, for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Paraguay; Dr. Cynthia Ann Telles, for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Costa Rica.
High-level diplomats in China, Japan, India and several European countries were to be part of the first wave of candidate ambassadors. But the verification and notification process with host countries is still ongoing, officials said, with the White House due to make further announcements soon.
The list includes several major donors, former senators and their spouses, people familiar with the selection told CNN.
One of the biggest questions still hanging over the search for American ambassadors concerns the Court of St. James, which is the prestigious post in the United Kingdom, where Biden visited last week during the first leg of his trip abroad.
Nicholas Burns, a career diplomat who has served the presidents of both political parties, should still be appointed ambassador to China, people familiar with the research said.
Rahm Emanuel, the former mayor of Chicago, congressman from Illinois and the first White House chief of staff in the Obama administration, is still expected to be appointed ambassador to Japan, according to people familiar with the research.
Even since Biden took office, the political situation in several key countries has changed. Israel is the best example, with a deadly conflict last month giving way to a ceasefire and possibly a new prime minister.
The Biden administration’s policy on the Middle East will be considered in confirmation hearings, which are expected to take place later this summer.
From the Capitol to the Middle East, the selection of Nides has been the subject of much discussion for weeks among keen observers of Israel.
A longtime leading Democratic donor, Nides was COO at Morgan Stanley before stepping down in 2010 to work under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He returned to Morgan Stanley in 2013 as Vice President. Nides is married to Virginia Moseley, director of CNN, who is senior vice president of national news gathering.
This story first appeared on CNN.com, “Biden appoints 9 appointed ambassadors, including ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, but posts in Europe and Asia are yet to come.“