Biden taps former Indiana Sen. Donnelly as ambassador to Vatican

Biden taps former Indiana Sen. Donnelly as ambassador to Vatican
© Greg Nash

President BidenJoe BidenManchin to vote to nix Biden's vaccine mandate for larger businesses Congress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight Senate cuts deal to clear government funding bill MORE on Friday nominated former Indiana Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyBiden to have audience with pope, attend G20 summit Biden taps former Indiana Sen. Donnelly as ambassador to Vatican Republicans may regret restricting reproductive rights MORE (D) to serve as ambassador to the Holy See as part of his latest slate of diplomatic nominees. 

Donnelly lost his re-election bid in 2018 to Sen. Mike BraunMichael BraunManchin to vote to nix Biden's vaccine mandate for larger businesses GOP fears boomerang as threat of government shutdown grows Overnight Defense & National Security — Senate looks to break defense bill stalemate MORE (R) after one term in the Senate. He previously served three terms in the House, and he has worked as a partner at Akin Gump in Washington, D.C., since leaving office.

Donnelly's history in the Senate, where he was among the more conservative Democrats, will likely serve him well in confirmation proceedings. If confirmed, he would serve as ambassador to the Vatican under a devoutly Catholic president that has had disagreements with the church over his support of abortion rights.

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The previous ambassador to the Holy See was Callista Gingrich, wife of former House Speaker Newt GingrichNewton (Newt) Leroy GingrichMORE (R-Ga.).

Donnelly's nomination was announced alongside his picks for ambassadors to Panama, Finland and Greece. Those roles went to Mari Carmen Aponte, Douglas Hickey and George Tsunis, respectively.

The Biden administration is still waiting for dozens of nominees to be confirmed to diplomatic posts and State Department positions.

Republican and Democratic senators last month threatened to hold up confirmation of officials at the State and Defense departments in response to Biden’s handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.