Trump to nominate Jon Huntsman as ambassador to Russia

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!”

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.”


In March it was reported that Huntsman was in talks with the Trump administration about the ambassadorship. This was followed soon after by reports the former governor had accepted the offer.

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.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.



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  • Caveat_Emptor July 19, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Ambassador to China was an important posting reflecting the importance of the trade relationship between the U.S. and Mainland China.
    This prospective appointment seems odd. Jon Huntsman does not come to mind as tough enough to deal with Russia. Americans are clearly not welcome in Russia, thanks to Putin’s propaganda machine. Why we have an embassy in Moscow needs to be assessed. Is the physical presence that necessary in the modern world?

  • Kilroywashere July 19, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    This is great news. Jon Huntsman is intelligent, and a highly skilled diplomat. It is too bad he didn’t have the charisma to seriously make a run at the Presidency years back. Having been to China as far back when Hong Kong was British, and studying China in grad school, I Know he was top notch during his tenure. Russia will be no problem. President Trump, chose well. I have nothing but respect for this man. HE is the A team. Best person for the job at this time.

  • old school July 20, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Oh come on, why don’t you just appointment Donny Osmond! At least Jon Huntsman has more qualifications than our “shark tank” President, but he’s just another lapdog he can control.

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