The White House announced Tuesday evening President Trump’s intention to nominate former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman as the U.S. Ambassador to Russia.
If confirmed, Huntsman would fill an appointment that is key to the president’s foreign policy agenda. Trump has said on the campaign trail and as president that he wants to work with Russia on matters such as combating terrorists.
The appointment is also high-profile because Congress and a special counsel are investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 president elections and whether there was any collusion with Trump’s campaign.
Trump’s every move with Russia has been scrutinized through that lens, with critics accusing him at every turn of going easy on Russia.
It could be more difficult for those critics to attack Huntsman, an establishment foreign policy figure and former President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China.
“Governor Jon Huntsman has had a distinguished career as a politician, diplomat, and businessman,” the White House said in its statement:
He currently serves as Chairman of both the Atlantic Council, a premier foreign policy think tank, and the Huntsman Cancer Foundation.
His robust record of public service includes service as U.S. Ambassador to China and to Singapore, Deputy United States Trade Representative, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Trade Development. He was also been twice elected Governor of Utah.
In the private sector he is a director on numerous corporate boards including Hilton, Chevron, Ford Motor Company, and Caterpillar. He and his wife Mary Kaye are the parents of seven children.