Administration

Biden’s first political ambassador nominees include Israel, Mexico, ‘Sully’

President Biden on Tuesday announced his first major batch of political ambassador nominees, including his picks to represent the U.S. in Mexico and Israel and an ambassador nomination for Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger on an international aviation council.

The White House rolled out a slate of nominees that included former Obama administration official Tom Nides as ambassador to Israel and former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as ambassador to Mexico. Both nominees had been previously reported.

The announcement also included the planned nomination of career Senior Foreign Service officer Julie Chung to represent the U.S. as ambassador to Sri Lanka, career official Marc Ostfield as ambassador to Paraguay and former Obama administration national security adviser Julianne Smith as the U.S. representative to NATO. Biden attended a NATO summit in Brussels on Monday.

Biden will also nominate Sullenberger for the rank of ambassador while he serves as a representative on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization. “Sully” is a retired Air Force pilot who rose to fame when he successfully landed a plane in the Hudson River in 2009 after both engines failed after takeoff.

The president had previously nominated a handful of career foreign service officials for ambassador posts abroad. But key ambassadorships abroad remain vacant roughly five months into Biden’s first term. He has still yet to submit nominees for posts in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China or Japan, even as he meets with key allies in Europe this week.

If confirmed, Nides will head to Israel as a new government takes over. Naftali Bennett was sworn in as Israel’s new prime minister on Sunday, ending Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year term in office. 

Salazar would become ambassador to Mexico as the Biden administration works to address the flow of migrants to the southern U.S. border, and as the administration begins sending coronavirus vaccine doses to Mexico to help curb the pandemic.

Other expected Biden nominees include Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as ambassador to India and former Chicago Mayor and Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel as ambassador to Japan. Neither has been confirmed by the White House officially.

Tags ambassador nominees Aviation Benjamin Netanyahu Captain Sully Eric Garcetti India Israel Japan Joe Biden Mexico
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