Jon Huntsman Jr. has been named US ambassador to Russia by President Trump, ending speculation in the most unexpected way possible. It’s an appointment few predicted given Huntsman’s outspoken view during the Presidential primary campaign that Trump should stand down after his comments about groping women on the crotch.
Huntsman Jr is the former Governor of Utah and was critical of Trump during the Republican nomination process. Given Trumps penchant for rewarding loyalty, few saw his appointment to one of the most important diplomatic roles in world coming. He was quoted as saying
“In a campaign cycle that has been nothing but a race to the bottom and with so many who have tried to be respectful of a record primary vote, the time has come for Governor Pence to lead the ticket,”.
Trump criticized these comments at the time describing Huntsman a “lightweight” and “weak”. He will now take up the job in Moscow should the senate rubber stamp the appointment.
Ironically one of Huntsman Jr’s first jobs in the role will be to navigate the growing controversy over exactly how close the Trump presidential campaign was linked to Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election.
Trump and Huntsman Jr appear to have broken bread despite further criticism by the new ambassador a month ago regarding President Trumps phone call to Taiwan’s leadership which created tension with China.