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Jon Huntsman on Hot Seat as New US Ambassador to Russia

Image: Jon Huntsman on Hot Seat as New US Ambassador to Russia

Jon Huntsman (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

By    |   Thursday, 09 Mar 2017 07:25 AM

Jon Huntsman is immediately on the hot seat after being tapped by President Donald Trump to be the new U.S. ambassador to Russia.

The former Utah governor is a veteran to ambassadorships – he served in Singapore under George H.W. Bush and in China under Barack Obama – but his posting to Russia comes at a time when tensions are high between the two countries.

According to USA Today, five congressional committees are currently investigating Russian ties to Trump's presidential campaign during last year's election as well as Trump's handling of information about his aides' contacts with the country.

The Daily Beast said the U.S. intelligence community concluded that Russia attempted to interfere in the U.S. election in 2016 in an effort to benefit Trump. Obama laid down sanctions against Russia in December before leaving office, including the expulsion of 35 of its diplomats, said the BBC News.

The relationship between Trump and Huntsman had been up and down, with the president once calling him a "lightweight" and charging that he "gave away China," while he was ambassador to China under Obama.

Huntsman, though, went on to endorse Trump as president while calling for party unity. He said last April that he believed "Donald Trump has the ability to assemble a nontraditional bloc of supporters," noted the Daily Beast.

In October, though, he became one of several Republicans who asked Trump to drop out of the race after the leaked "Access Hollywood" take in which Trump appeared to speak in unflattering terms about women.

"If confirmed, Huntsman will come to the job as an outsider in the Trump universe," said Elliot Hannon of the left-leaning Slate. "Huntsman has served under both Democratic and Republican administrations. Moderate and measured, Huntsman, in many ways, is the anti-Trump in style and substance."

The conservative website Hot Air's "pundit" wondered how much impact Huntsman's appointment will have overall.

"Feels like it should be a big deal, as ambassador to Russia is an important job under any president and should be a really important job under this president," said Hot Air. "But given how (Secretary of State) Rex Tillerson has disappeared and funding for his department has been placed on the chopping block, I don’t know."

"Trump seems to conduct foreign policy entirely from the White House. Formal diplomatic positions may be mostly ceremonial. So congrats to Huntsman on becoming a figurehead for our new Russia policy, I guess."

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Jon Huntsman is immediately on the hot seat after being tapped by President Donald Trump to be the new U.S. ambassador to Russia.
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2017-25-09
Thursday, 09 Mar 2017 07:25 AM
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