President BidenJoe BidenFormer chairman of Wisconsin GOP party signals he will comply with Jan. 6 committee subpoena Romney tests positive for coronavirus Pelosi sidesteps progressives' March 1 deadline for Build Back Better MORE will nominate Caroline Kennedy and former figure skater Michelle KwanMichelle Wingshan KwanThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Charter Communications - Dem wheels wobble on BBB train; Fed rate hikes in '22 Biden picks Caroline Kennedy, Michelle Kwan for ambassador roles Andy Cohen to host Democratic convention after-party featuring celebrity performances MORE to ambassadorships as part of a slate of diplomatic picks, the White House announced Wednesday.
Biden announced his intent to nominate Kennedy, the daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, to serve as ambassador to Australia. Kwan is Biden's pick for ambassador to Belize.
Kennedy, 64, previously served as ambassador to Japan during the Obama administration. She helped organize the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, including a visit by then-President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGlobal Health, Empowerment, and Rights Act will permanently end to harmful global gag rule Incoming Georgetown Law administrator apologizes after backlash over Supreme Court tweets Ex-Education Secretary Duncan considers Chicago mayor bid MORE to Hiroshima. Kennedy was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Rising Sun in November for her work on the U.S.-Japan alliance.
"I look forward to collaborating with the Government of Australia to strengthen our alliance, improve global health and increase vaccine access during this terrible pandemic and to address the urgent climate crisis," Kennedy said of her potential confirmation in a statement through the White House. "I am excited to get to know the Australian people, learn about their fascinating country and share with them what I love most about America."
If confirmed, she will serve in Australia at a time when the Biden administration has sought to revitalize the Quad alliance with Australia, India and Japan.
Biden also announced he would nominate Kwan, 41, for ambassador to Belize.
Kwan is the most decorated figure skater in U.S. history, having won two Olympic medals and five world championships. Since her career on the ice, Kwan has worked as an envoy for the Department of State, and she is currently a board member of Special Olympics International.
"I am honored to be nominated by President Biden to serve as ambassador to Belize, and if confirmed, I will be very proud to serve my country," Kwan said in a statement provided by the White House. "Belize is full of incredible history and culture, and has been a tremendous partner to the United States. I look forward to working with the Belizean government on economic issues, to put an end to this pandemic, and to address regional migration."
The Senate has confirmed key ambassador nominees for the Biden administration, including those serving in Mexico and at NATO. But Republican senators have slow-walked or outright blocked confirmation efforts for numerous Biden nominees, prompting concerns from White House officials and Democrats.
Updated 4:55 p.m.