President Joe Biden announced Thursday his nominations for nine open U.S. ambassadorships in Africa and Asia, but several major posts remain unfilled.
Biden still has not announced nominees for ambassadors to Beijing or Mexico City, two flashpoints in his administration’s policy goals. The ambassadorships to the United Kingdom, France and Germany also remain unfilled. Presidents commonly, although controversially, hand out certain ambassadorships to prominent donors and other wealthy allies, and the White House has reportedly been debating how many ambassadorships to set aside for that purpose, according to USAToday.
The empty post in Beijing is most striking, as Biden has placed America’s ongoing “competition” with China at the center of his foreign policy. He has said the competition between the two nations will determine whether democracy or autocracy will rule the world going into the future. The White House has announced no updates on how far along it is in making a nomination. (RELATED: President Biden Launches Pentagon Task Force To Counter China)
Presidents also often use ambassadorships as an olive branch to the opposing political party. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all went so far as to nominate members of the opposing party for cabinet-level positions. While Biden and former President Donald Trump did not go that far, Biden is expected to nominate Cindy McCain, the widow of late Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain, to be ambassador to the Rome-based U.N. World Food Program.
The complete list of Thursday’s nominees:
- Larry Edward André, Jr. – Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Somalia
- Elizabeth Moore Aubin – Ambassador to the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria
- Steven C. Bondy – Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain
- Maria E. Brewer – Ambassador to the Kingdom of Lesotho
- Marc Evans Knapper – Ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
- Christopher John Lamora – Ambassador to the Republic of Cameroon
- Tulinabo S. Mushingi – Ambassador to the Republic of Angola and the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome & Principe
- Michael Raynor – Ambassador to the Republic of Senegal and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador to the Republic of Guinea-Bissau
- Eugene S. Young – Ambassador to the Republic of the Congo