U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman has turned in his resignation letter to President Donald Trump effective October 3 and is planning to move back to his home state of Utah.
Huntsman sent Trump the letter Tuesday morning, and there is speculation that he is moving back to his home state to mount a second run for governor, a role which he served between 2005 and 2009.
“American citizenship is a privilege and I believe the most basic responsibility in return is service to country,” Huntsman began his letter to the president. “To that end, I am honored by the trust you have placed in me as the United States ambassador to Russia during this historically difficult period in bilateral relations.”
The White House confirmed that it had received the letter.
“We appreciate his service to the nation, applaud his dedicated work toward improving the U.S.-Russia relationship, and wish him the best in the next chapter,” a White House official told the Salt Lake Tribune.
Huntsman, 59, left his role as governor of Utah in 2009 to serve as U.S. ambassador to China under the Obama administration and stepped down from that role to launch an unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.
Trump appointed Huntsman to serve as U.S. ambassador to Russia roughly two years ago, during which time the U.S. has experienced tumultuous relations with Russia.
Sources close to Huntsman say he has a good shot at recapturing the governor’s mansion should he run against Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.
“Huntsman is going to have higher name ID, a stronger record to run on and, of course, the money to back him up,” Derek Miller, the head of the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce, told the Atlantic back in June about a potential Huntsman run. “He wouldn’t have to raise a dime. That’s hard to beat.”
The former governor told the Deseret News in 2018 that he had been diagnosed with skin cancer, but that it would not affect his future endeavors.
“It’s just stage 1,” he told the outlet at the time. “So we’ll probably get it taken care of, and we’ll be fine.”