ST. GEORGE – Months after it was reported that Jon Huntsman Jr. was being considered as the next U.S. ambassador to Russia, President Donald Trump officially announced his intent to nominate Huntsman to the post Tuesday evening.
The following statement was issued by the White House:
Governor Jon Huntsman has had a distinguished career as a politician, diplomat, and businessman. He currently serves as Chairman of both the Atlantic Council, a premier foreign policy think tank, and the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. His robust record of public service includes service as U.S. Ambassador to China and to Singapore, Deputy United States Trade Representative, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Trade Development. He was also twice elected Governor of Utah. In the private sector he is a director on numerous corporate boards including Hilton, Chevron, Ford Motor Company, and Caterpillar. He and his wife Mary Kaye are the parents of seven children.
The White House made the announcement shortly after it confirmed that Trump had a previously undisclosed conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a dinner at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, earlier this month.
If confirmed, Huntsman will take on the ambassadorship amid the ongoing investigations into alleged meddling by the Russians in the 2016 election and questions of contact with the Trump campaign.
“Happy that Jon Huntsman’s nomination as US ambassador to Russia is (finally) moving forward,” Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, said over Twitter. “He’s a great choice. America needs him!”
Happy that Jon Huntsman’s nomination as US ambassador to Russia is (finally) moving forward. He’s a great choice. America needs him!
— Rep. Chris Stewart (@RepChrisStewart) July 18, 2017
Sen. Mike Lee, who served as general counsel in then Gov. Huntsman’s administration from 2005-06, released the following statement regarding Huntsman’s nomination: “Few people are more ready to answer a call to serve our country than Ambassador Huntsman,” Sen Lee said. “I have every confidence that he will ably and honestly serve our nation again.”
Prior to that, Huntsman’s name was briefly in the hat of consideration for Secretary of State.
This will be the third time Huntsman has acted as ambassador. He was the ambassador to Singapore under President George H.W. Bush, and later ambassador to China under President Barrack Obama. The latter role came to an end in 2012 when he returned to the U.S. to mount a run for the presidency.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
Updated July 23 to include statement by Utah’s U.S. Sen. Mike Lee.
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