Biden Shouldn't Be Picking 'Amateur Diplomats' for Critical Diplomatic Posts, Ex-Official Warns
11:02 GMT 21.01.2022 (Updated: 15:17 GMT 28.05.2023)
The president vowed not to hire anyone solely for being a major donor. Still, he has so far appointed 25 donors to his campaign as ambassadors - presumably for their skills.
US President Joe Biden should appoint more seasoned diplomats to critical ambassador
posts instead of picking "amateur diplomats", a former director of global engagement for Barack Obama, Brett Bruen, has suggested. He warned that failing to do so would undermine America's already complicated position in the world.
"These aren't the good ole' days […] Our position in the world has weakened significantly and we no longer have the luxury of sending amateur diplomats abroad", Bruen stated in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.
Bruen specifically referred to Biden's recent decision to send former TV executive and ex-US Ambassador to France Jane Hartley as envoy to the UK.
Hartley's three-year stay in France is her only prior diplomatic experience, but Bruen argues that the UK appointment requires someone with "exceptional skills and decades of experience". He stressed that if anything goes sideways
in US-UK relations, "it will reverberate around the world".
"This is an essential relationship for restoring America's credibility and influence across the globe", Bruen said.
Aside from being a former television exec, Hartley is also known for her generous donations to Democratic Party candidates, including the 2012 campaign of Barack Obama, who made her the nation's ambassador to France in 2014, and to the campaign of Joe Biden in 2020.
Hartley is the latest addition to the list of 25 former "bundlers" – prominent campaign donors – Biden has appointed to diplomatic posts over the first year of his presidency. Roughly one-third of his ambassador appointees are bundlers and in this regard he has "outdone" two earlier administrations, that of Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Trump never revealed his bundlers.
17 December 2021, 00:59 GMT
Notably, during his campaign, Biden vowed not to appoint anyone solely because they donated to his cause. Apparently, the 25 appointees possessed the skills needed to advance the nation's relationships with its allies and other foreign countries. Among them are former corporate executive Meg Whitman, who was appointed ambassador to Kenya, and hotelier George Tsunis, who Biden sent as ambassador to Greece. The latter lost his last ambassadorial nomination to Norway in 2013 after his candidacy was rejected by the Senate, who suspected him of not being familiar with the country he was supposed to work in.