President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced he was nominating prominent Democratic fundraiser Jane Hartley to serve as ambassador to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland – one of the poshest overseas postings available.
If confirmed by the Senate, she will be the first woman ambassador to Britain in 45 years.
Hartley, 71, served as ambassador to France during the Obama presidency and was a major donor to Barack Obama.
At least two candidates turned down the ambassadorship to the Court of St. James, including former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, CNN reported.
It was part of Biden’s struggle to fill the job, which is of great diplomatic importance given the long, close ties between the United States and the United Kingdom.
The president also had considered the late former secretary of state Colin Powell – there has never been a black U.S. ambassador to Britain and the historic nature of the pick would come after Meghan Markle married into the British royal family.
The White House had also approached career Foreign Service officers, the Washington Post reported earlier this year.
President Biden named prominent Democratic fundraiser Jane Hartley (above) to serve as ambassador to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland
Jane Hartley served as ambassador to France under President Barack Obama – seen with him in Paris in November 2015
Hartley’s tenure in Paris coincided with the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris in 2015 and she worked with Washington to handle diplomatic assistance.
She subsequently received the Legion of Honor from the President of France in recognition of her efforts.
Hartley also was a bundler for Biden’s campaign and supported him from the early days during the crowded Democratic primary in 2020.
She is married to investment banker and Evercore Partners CEO Ralph Schlosstein.
The appointment to the UK is the most prestigious for the president to reward: the ambassador lives in the 35-bedroom Winfield House, in Regent’s Park.
Its 12-acre garden is second only to the Queen’s at Buckingham Palace and has room for Marine One to land, while inside glittering reception rooms make an invitation from the ambassador a prize on London’s social scene.
Not that there is a shortage of invitations for the ambassador: the most glamorous of all when he or she presents their credentials at Buckingham Palace, riding there in a carriage and wearing a top hat and tails.
Given its benefits, the ambassadorship has been used by presidents of both parties as the ultimate reward to supporters for their loyalty or their fundraising – preferably both.
Hartley and the other ambassadors Biden named on Wednesday must be confirmed by the Senate.
The White House also announced Biden would nominate major donor Alan Leventhal to serve as his envoy to Denmark; longtime diplomat and attorney Elizabeth Bagley to serve as ambassador to Brazil; and career senior foreign service officer Alexander Laskaris to serve in Chad.
Nearly a third of Biden’s ambassador nominees to date are campaign bundlers – a common practice for presidents of both parties who use the overseas postings to reward big donors.
When he was running for president, Biden said that no ambassadors would secure their jobs because they’d given to his campaign.
‘I’m going to appoint the best people possible,’ he said in 2019. ‘Nobody, in fact, will be appointed by me based on anything they contributed.’
French President Francois Hollande (R) and the outgoing U.S. ambassador to France, Jane Hartley (L), react after she was awarded the Legion of Honour (Legion d’Honneur) in Paris in January 2017
Winfield House, the US ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park, London
About 44% of Donald Trump´s ambassadorial appointments were political appointees, compared with 31% for Barack Obama and 32% for George W. Bush, according to the American Foreign Service Association.
Biden hopes to keep political appointments to about 30% of ambassador picks, an administration official told the Associated Press.
Bagley, an attorney, held diplomatic positions in the Clinton and Obama administrations, including stints as a senior adviser to Secretaries of State John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and Madeline Albright. She served U.S. ambassador to Portugal during the Clinton administration.
Laskaris is currently a senior adviser in the Bureau of African Affairs at the State Department. He has also served as deputy to the commander at the United States Africa Command, ambassador to the Guinea, and as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Burundi.
Biden has faced criticism for lagging behind on ambassadorial nominations. His nominees on Wednesday come the day before his one-year anniversary in the Oval Office.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk