Biden taps former Indiana Sen. Donnelly as ambassador to Vatican

Greg Nash

President Biden on Friday nominated former Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly (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 Braun (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.

The previous ambassador to the Holy See was Callista Gingrich, wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (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.


Tags Joe Biden Joe Donnelly Mike Braun Newt Gingrich
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