Trump weighs donors, establishment figures for ambassadorships

Donald Trump and Michael Flynn.
(Image credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

As President-elect Donald Trump fills his last remaining Cabinet positions, analysts are turning to his ambassador appointments as the next signal to how the president-elect will run his government. While Trump has already named South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, and conservative hard-liner David Friedman as the ambassadors to the U.N., China, and Israel, respectively, the remaining posts could indicate whether Trump plans to stick to a more traditional ambassador team or whether he will buck the norm.

Trump is reportedly considering former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman for ambassador to Japan, a choice that would appease the party establishment as Huntsman is an experienced diplomat in East Asia, but the president-elect is also said to be considering less traditional figures like New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and New York developer Peter Kalilow. As Maggie Haberman writes in The New York Times:

President-elect Donald J. Trump feels he owes little to the Republican establishment donor set, a majority of whom opposed him. He also ran a campaign that challenged longstanding shibboleths of American diplomacy. Mr. Trump's choice of ambassadors could be a sign of how serious he is about both those stances. But as his transition team begins sifting through possible choices for a dozen major embassies, the signals are unclear. [The New York Times]

Trump will also have to contend with competing opinions, as his closest advisers are split on whether the president-elect would be smart to use his ambassadorships to reward donors and supporters he might need down the line, or whether he should try to bring outsiders on-board with his campaign with the posts. Read more at The New York Times.

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Kimberly Alters

Kimberly Alters is the news editor at She is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.