GENEVA — Hours before his high-stakes summit with Vladimir Putin, President Joe Biden unveiled nine nominees for ambassadorships, including for Israel, NATO, and Mexico.
Among the names chosen by Biden was pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who became a hero after he disabled a plane in the Hudson River. The nominees consist of five political appointees and four career government officials.
Other names include former Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides, political appointee is Cynthia Ann Telles, Sharon Cromer, a USAID official, for The Gambia; Troy Fitrell, and Marc Ostfield, the State Department’s ombudsman, for Paraguay.
Nides, a banking executive, has been chosen to be the ambassador in Jerusalem. Julianne Smith, a longtime foreign policy adviser to Biden, has been tapped for the NATO position in Brussels. Meanwhile, Ken Salazar, a former U.S. interior secretary, has been nominated for the Mexico City job.
The White House has dismissed criticism that the president is taking too long and being late with his ambassador nominations.
Other nominations include Cynthia Telles, a UCLA professor, for the Costa Rica position. Julie Chung for Sri Lanka, Sharon Cromer for Gambia, Troy Damian Fitrell to Guinea. The nominations now bring the total number of ambassadors to 18, with 13 coming from career positions.
One name missing from the list is Rahm Emanuel, the former Chicago mayor and first White House chief of staff in the Obama administration. He is still expected to be named as an ambassador to Japan. Diplomats to China,
Japan, India, and several European countries are expected to be announced at a later date. All the nominees will have to go through confirmation hearings in the Senate, which is bitterly divided.
The biggest question for US ambassadors is for the Court of St. James, a post in the United Kingdom, where Biden visited last week for the G-7 Summit as he met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.