Biden Under Pressure To Appoint Fewer Top Donor Ambassadors
After the Donald Trump administration named more politically connected ambassadors than any modern president, President Joe Biden is under pressure to reverse the trend of naming high-dollar donors to ambassador positions.
“Our diplomats expect Biden to build diplomacy back better. That’s what he promised on the campaign trail,” said former Foreign Service officer Brett Bruen in a statement Tuesday. “It means not going back to the old practice of doling out ambassadors to the well-to-do and the well-connected.”
Modern administrations have taken to giving highly coveted ambassador roles like France, Canada or Japan to high-paying donors to a president’s campaign. Trump’s presidency saw a rise in donor nominations from 30% under Barack Obama to 44%. The Biden campaign in now seeing an internal push to nominate more career diplomats to the essential positions.
The White House has yet to start the long, bureaucratic process for selecting and nominating ambassadors. Experts believe the task has been sidetracked, focusing on COVID-19 relief. Biden has only named one ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who is America’s newest ambassador to the United Nations.
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Virginia), who served as America’s ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, gave his thoughts on the shift. “When they came to me two years ago, I told them the president is going to send people he knows, likes, trusts and who have been integral in getting him elected,” Beyer said. “Now it’s late, way too late. You can’t just write a check.”