Trump names new EU envoy, filling post left vacant by impeachment witness Sondland

Trump names new EU envoy, filling post left vacant by impeachment witness Sondland
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President TrumpDonald TrumpLil Wayne gets 11th hour Trump pardon Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Trump expected to pardon Bannon: reports MORE on Monday appointed the U.S. ambassador to Belgium to serve as the acting ambassador to the European Union (EU).

Ronald Gidwitz will take over the role left vacant by Gordon SondlandGordon SondlandGOP chairman vows to protect whistleblowers following Vindman retirement over 'bullying' Top Democrat slams Trump's new EU envoy: Not 'a political donor's part-time job' Trump names new EU envoy, filling post left vacant by impeachment witness Sondland MORE, who was fired in February after he testified in the House's impeachment inquiry into the president.

Gidwitz, a political appointee, Trump and GOP campaign donor and former businessman of a billion dollar toiletry and cosmetics company, will continue to serve as ambassador to Belgium while also representing the U.S. in its relations with the EU, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoSenate presses Biden's pick for secretary of State on Iran, China, Russia and Yemen US secretary of State on last day in office equates 'wokeness' with totalitarianism Trump's '1776 Report' released on MLK Day receives heavy backlash MORE said in a statement. He was confirmed by the Senate for his position to Belgium in July 2018.


Pompeo on Monday said Gidwitz will be tasked with advancing the U.S.-EU relationship, especially “achieving a speedy recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

“I am pleased to announce the President has designated Ambassador Ronald J. Gidwitz as Acting Representative of the United States to the European Union,” Pompeo said in a statement. 


“Ambassador Gidwitz will continue serving as U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Belgium, strengthening our bilateral economic and security relationship to the benefit of both nations.”


The announcement follows the absence of the U.S. from an EU-led funding initiative aimed at raising $8 billion for global cooperation on diagnostics, treatment and development of a vaccine against COVID-19.

Trump fired Sondland in February, shortly after the Senate acquitted the president in his impeachment trial on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. 

Sondland was a key witness in the Democrats's inquiry into whether Trump abused the office of the presidency. He testified that there was a quid pro quo, with U.S. military assistance to Ukraine dependent on whether Kyiv announced investigations into the president’s domestic political rival.

“Everyone was in the loop,” Sondland said in his testimony.

Sondland’s firing was widely viewed as retaliation for his testimony in the impeachment investigation.