President Biden is planning to nominate his campaign donor Jane Hartley as ambassador to the UK after months of delays, according to reports on Friday.
A White House spokesman declined to comment other than to say nothing is final until the pick is announced.
Four ambassadorial nominations were revealed on Friday, including former Sen. Tom Udall, but Hartley, 71, was not among them.
However, the Washington Post and CNN said Biden had homed in on Hartley as his choice ambassador to the Court of St. James.
President Biden has reportedly settled on Jane Hartley, fundraiser and former ambassador to Paris, as he pick to be his ambassador to London. It comes after months of uncertainty
Biden was criticized for dragging his feet amid the slow pace of diplomatic nominations, but he has begun naming ambassadors to key posts in the past few weeks, including Paris and India
French President Francois Hollande awarded Hartley with the Legion d’Honneur at the end of her time as ambassador to Paris in 2017
President Barack Obama (C) and French President Francois Hollande (unseen) have dinner at the Ambroisie restaurant in Paris, with French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius (R), with the US Ambassador to France Jane D Hartley (L), French Prime Minister Manuel Valls as part of the COP21 World Climate Change Conference in Le Bourget, north of Paris, on November 30, 2015.
The decision could come as soon Monday, ending weeks of uncertainty about Biden’s plans for one of the most prestigious postings, which comes with a 35-room neo-Georgian mansion in London’s Regent Park.
Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Ted Kaufman, the former Delaware senator and close friend of Biden, are understood to have been in the mix.
CNN reported that Bloomberg declined the post.
A foreign diplomatic source said he was baffled the decision had taken so long when Hartley, a donor and a veteran of the European diplomatic circuit, ticked so many of the obvious boxes.
‘A solid choice,’ he said.
Hartley was a major fundraiser for former President Obama, raising more than $500,000 for his 2012 reelection, and her time in Paris means she has experience of a major European capital.
Before that she was chief executive of the Observatory Group, a and political advisory firm, and worked in the Carter White House.
The U.S. ambassador’s residence is Winfield House. With its 12.5 acres of grounds it has the second biggest garden in central London – after Buckingham Palace
Winfield House is in a prime location in Regents Park, central London
The dining room at Winfield House as it prepared to host President Trump during his 2019 state visit
Her posting to Paris coincided with a major terrorist attack in 2015, throwing her into the role of delivering diplomatic assistance.
She will find that London comes with perks.
She will have the run of what is believed to be one of the most expensive homes in the city, complete with 12.5 acres of grounds in prime central London making it the second largest garden after Buckingham Palace.
Former President Donald Trump was so taken with Winfield House that he wanted to lobby the Queen to extend the Crown Estate lease on the residence as part of a U.S.-U.K. trade deal.
The U.S lease on Winfield House has been in place since 1955 but is due to expire in 2053, with Trump angling for a 999-year extension to be put in place, reported The Times last year.
If confirmed, she would succeed Trump’s ambassador Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets, who stepped down in January.
And she may find herself thrown into the middle of two thorny diplomatic issues.
London has been pressing for Washington to lift a COVID-19 ban on most travel from the United Kingdom.
Hartley is married to investment banker and Evercore Partners CEO Ralph Schlosstein. They have two children
While the UK requires American citizens to quarantine and test negative for Covid-19 before entering their country, the US still largely bars travelers from the UK.
Johnson and Biden established a task force last month to evaluate options to open up travel between their two countries.
Prime Minister Johnson and Biden set up a task force last month to negotiate reopening travel without yet resolving the matter.
And she will be at the heart of trade of trade negotiations as the U.K. looks to forge a new, post-Brexit deal.
Biden called Hartley to offer her the job about two weeks ago, according to the Washington Post.
‘The president told her, “I had no inclination of giving this to a donor,” and that she got it because of her experience and that he wanted her to know that,’ said an administration official.