Senate Confirms Jon Huntsman as Ambassador to Russia

Jon Huntsman / Getty

The Senate on Thursday confirmed former governor of Utah and diplomat Jon Huntsman to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Russia.

After President Donald Trump nominated Huntsman in July,  his confirmation sailed through the Senate without objection, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) released a statement praising his friend and fellow Utahn on his appointment immediately after the Senate confirmed him.

"I congratulate my friend, Jon Huntsman, on his appointment to serve as the next Ambassador to Russia," Hatch tweeted. "This particular ambassadorship requires a great deal of poise, intellect, and experience, and I have no doubt that Jon is the man for the job."

Huntsman previously served as ambassador to China and Singapore, and as a U.S. deputy trade representative. Both appointments saw no objections in the Senate confirmation. This time, Huntsman received bipartisan support from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who endorsed him a week after his appearance before the panel.

"I am enthusiastically supporting this nominee and hoping we can get him to Moscow as soon as possible," Sen. Ben Cardin (D., Md.) said Tuesday.

The quickness of Huntsman’s confirmation is noteworthy given the delays that have plagued the Trump administration's nominations. Huntsman's bipartisan support also helps the Trump Administration in its effort to deal with criticism about its relationship with Russia.

Allegations of collusion with Russia during the presidential election have continued, including from Trump’s defeated opponent Hillary Clinton. Trump himself has come under scrutiny for how he has dealt with Russia while in office, including a controversial conversation with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. Huntsman himself told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he had "no question" Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election.

Alongside his nomination to the ambassadorship, Trump released a statement crediting Huntsman's "robust record of public service." This was a different tone from the one Trump used when he called Huntsman a "joke candidate" who favored China when Huntsman was running for president in 2012.