President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced more than half a dozen nominees for ambassadorships, including the potential ambassadors to Israel, Mexico, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, among others.
Biden selected Thomas Nides, vice-chairman at Morgan Stanley and the former deputy secretary of state under President Barack Obama, for ambassador to Israel, while former Interior Secretary and ex-Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar was picked for ambassador to Mexico. Security expert Julianne Smith was chosen to represent the United States on the NATO council, and C. B. “Sully” Sullenberger, who famously landed a passenger plane safely on the Hudson River, was nominated as an ambassador and to serve as the U.S. representative on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization.
The president also named longtime members of the Senior Foreign Service including Julie Chung ambassador to Sri Lanka, Sharon Cromer ambassador to Gambia, and Troy Damian Fitrell ambassador to Guinea, along with Marc Ostfield, a longtime member of the Senior Executive Service and the ombudsman to the U.S. State Department, ambassador to Paraguay, and Dr. Cynthia Ann Telles, a Clinical Professor at the University of California Los Angeles’ Psychiatry Department, ambassador to Costa Rica.
The White House notes that Nides “is a distinguished public servant and business leader,” who “currently serves on the boards of the Partnership for Public Service, the International Rescue Committee, the Atlantic Council and the Urban Alliance Foundation, and… as the Managing Director and Vice Chairman of Morgan Stanley. He is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the former Chairman of the Board of the Woodrow Wilson Center appointed by President Obama.”
The White House describes Sullenberger as “a former United States Air Force fighter pilot, retired airline pilot, safety expert and keynote speaker,” who “in 2009, as captain of US Airways flight 1549, he and his crew guided their aircraft to a successful emergency landing in the Hudson River with no fatalities. He has served as a NASA aviation safety research consultant. As an Air Line Pilots Association accident investigation committee member, he participated in a National Transportation Safety Board investigation of a major airline accident, leading to improved airline procedures and training for emergency evacuation.”
Politico reports that this announcement brings Biden’s total number of ambassadorial nominees to 19. At this stage in his term, former President Donald Trump made 12 official ambassadorial nominations, while Obama sent 27 at this point in his first term. The outlet also notes that Trump only ended up filling about 45% of the total number of ambassador posts, leaving Biden with a large amount of vacancies to fill.
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