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 CorkerCorker to introduce resolution holding Saudi crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi's death This week: Trump, Dems set to meet amid funding fight Congress digs in for prolonged Saudi battle 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 TrumpHouse Republicans move to block Yemen war-powers votes for rest of Congress Trump says he's considering 10 to 12 contenders for chief of staff Michael Flynn asks judge to spare him from jail time 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 HatchSenate confirms Trump's pick to be deputy Treasury secretary Brzezinski: It’s ‘despicable’ for GOP lawmakers to dismiss Cohen memo implicating Trump Hatch suggests 611 for new National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 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.