Corker turns downs Trump's offer to be ambassador to Australia

Corker turns downs Trump's offer to be ambassador to Australia
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips Corker GOP senator: Kavanaugh accuser 'moving the goalposts' Grassley willing to send staff to California to speak with Kavanaugh accuser Corker blasts Trump's 'ready, fire, aim' trade policy MORE (R-Tenn.), who is retiring after 2018, turned down an offer from the Trump administration to be the next ambassador to Australia.

A spokeswoman for Corker, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, confirmed his decision, which was first reported by The Tennessean.

"I had a number of conversations with both President TrumpDonald John TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency MORE and [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo. At the end of the day though … it just felt like it wasn't the right step," Corker told the Tennessee newspaper.

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Corker, who was previously under consideration to be Trump's secretary of State or vice president, said he notified the administration last week that he wouldn't accept the position, which would have started in 2019.

The United States currently doesn't have a Senate-confirmed ambassador to Australia. Trump nominated Admiral Harry Harris for the post earlier this year, before switching him to be the ambassador to South Korea instead.

The last U.S. ambassador, John Berry, resigned from the post in September 2016.

The Australian Financial Review reported earlier Monday that both Corker and Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchGrand Staircase-Escalante: A conservation triumph is headed for future as playground for industry McConnell tamps down any talk of Kavanaugh withdrawal GOP offers to ban cameras from testimony of Kavanaugh accuser MORE (R-Utah), who is also retiring after 2018, were top contenders for the job.

Matt Whitlock, Hatch's deputy chief of staff, said Hatch has not had any talks with the administration about the post. 

“Senator Hatch has not had any conversations about an ambassadorship, but looks forward to a well-deserved retirement filled with early bird specials at all you can eat buffets and long walks through Costco," he said.