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Jon Huntsman for Deputy Secretary of State?

Jon Huntsman for Deputy Secretary of State?

Trump slowly building the state department.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson may finally have his #2 man at the department. The Wall Street Journal has reported former Utah Governor and presidential candidate Jon Huntsman has become one of the top contenders.

Originally, Tillerson wanted Elliott Abrams, an official in the state department under President Ronald Reagan, but after learnings Abrams criticized Trump during the campaign, Trump said no.

Huntsman served as ambassador to Singapore under President George H.W. Bush. He then served one term as Utah’s governor but stepped down into his second term in 2009 to serve as ambassador to China under President Obama. Huntsman ran for president in 2012, but quickly withdrew, endorsing Mitt Romney.

Huntsman speaks Mandarin Chinese. Many consider him “an expert in U.S.-Sino relations.”

Trump considered Huntsman as his Secretary of State but eventually picked ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson.

Huntsman endorsed Trump for president in September, but changed his mind after The Washington Post published remarks from Trump about groping women.

It’s been widely thought Huntsman could run for one of Utah’s senate seats in 2018. Sen. Orrin Hatch, though, has not decided if he will seek re-election.

The Trump administration has slowly built up the state department, leaving Tillerson without much-needed assistance. The department needs “more than 100 management posts and foreign ambassadorships awaiting even a nominee.” Trump has only named ambassadors to China, Israel, and Britain.



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State is a partisan cesspool. I’m more interested in who they can get out than in who they put in.

Many of those vacancies are of little significance. Ambassadorships were at one time a handy exile for anyone the President wanted out of the country. The Court at St Petersburg was particularly notorious—no travel at all for at least four months of the year, and not even any mail contact for almost as long; basically a prison, but with better food and slightly cleaner sheets.

Now that travel isn’t so arduous, they’re mainly patronage plums. And Trump, not being part of the long-term professional political patronage parade, may not have all that many expectant suitors waiting in line for appointments.

    Tom Servo in reply to tom swift. | February 28, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Some ambassadorships that may not seem too important are especially ripe plums to hand out to friends. I was a bit surprised to learn, when reading that Obama’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic was complaining bitterly about being let go so unceremoniously, that the US Ambassador’s residence in Prague is a magnificent 54 room neo-classical mansion that comes complete with a full house staff fit for an English Lord.

    Now that’s quite a perk.

Trump commented during the campaign on the ridiculousness of Caroline Kennedy as ambassador to Japan. He’s right; with some of these countries, the stakes are high as to military and trade issues. Putting someone with no experience managing deals is inimical to American interests.

I hope he continues to choose people with business backgrounds. Unfortunately our so-called “ethics” rules are making this hard. Reason to get rid of them; if they prevent our most savvy and most successful from representing our country, they’re an idea gone bad.

The global warming Huntsman?
The comprehensive immigration reform Huntsman?
The cap and trade Huntsman?
The minimum wage Huntsman?
The health care mandate Huntsman?

Gee, who have I ever seen hold these positions before?

I wonder if Trump slow-rolling the new ambassadors out is a strategy. After all, if you remove the political appointees from a post, the civil service employees still remain and carry out most of the day to day operations. One critical measure of an employee’s performance is to see what they do when not directly supervised. If the employee carries out their responsibilities in a professional manner, good. If they go off the rails, it may be a good indication they would be better suited to that diplomatic post in Yakistan.

Ah, Jebus Gott, NO.