President Biden plans to nominate his campaign donor Jane Hartley as ambassador to the UK after months of delay, according to reports on Friday.
A White House spokesperson declined to comment, except that nothing is final until the choice is announced.
Four ambassador nominations were unveiled Friday, including former Senator Tom Udall, but Hartley, 71, was not among them.
However, the Washington Post and CNN said Biden had tapped Hartley as his choiceambassador to the court of St. James.
President Biden has reportedly settled for Jane Hartley, fund-raiser and former ambassador to Paris, who chooses to be his ambassador to London. It comes after months of uncertainty
Biden has been criticized for dragging his feet amid the slow pace of diplomatic nominations, but in recent weeks he has begun appointing ambassadors to key posts, including Paris and India.
French President Francois Hollande awarded Hartley the Legion d’Honneur at the end of her time as ambassador to Paris in 2017
President Barack Obama (C) and French President Francois Hollande (unseen) dine at Ambroisie restaurant in Paris, with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (R), with US Ambassador to France Jane D Hartley (L), the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls as part of the COP21 World Climate Change Conference in Le Bourget, north of Paris, on November 30, 2015.
The decision could come as soon as Monday, ending weeks of uncertainty over Biden’s plans for one of its most prestigious placements, which comes with a 35-room neo-Georgian mansion in London’s Regent Park.
Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Ted Kaufman, the former Delaware senator and close friend of Biden, are said to have been in the mix.
CNN reported that Bloomberg rejected the post.
A foreign diplomatic source said he was dismayed that the decision had taken so long when Hartley, a donor and veteran of the European diplomatic circuit, ticked so many of the obvious boxes.
“A solid choice,” he said.
Hartley was a major fundraiser for former President Obama, raising more than $500,000 for his re-election in 2012. Through her time in Paris, she has experience of a major European capital.
Before that, she was chief executive of the Observatory Group, a political consultancy, and worked at the Carter White House.
The residence of the US Ambassador is Winfield House. With its 12.5 hectares of land, it has the second largest garden in central London – after Buckingham Palace
Winfield House enjoys a prime location in Regents Park, central London
Winfield House’s dining room as it prepares to receive President Trump on his 2019 state visit
Her deployment to Paris coincided with a major terrorist attack in 2015, which put her in the role of providing diplomatic assistance.
She will discover that London comes with perks.
She will be in charge of what is considered one of the most expensive houses in the city, complete with 12.5 acres of land in central London, making it the second largest garden after Buckingham Palace.
Former President Donald Trump was so pleased with Winfield House that he wanted to lobby the Queen to extend the Crown Estate lease on the property as part of a US-UK trade deal.
The US lease for Winfield House has been in effect since 1955 but will expire in 2053, with Trump fishing for a 999-year extension, The Times reported last year.
If confirmed, she would succeed Trump’s ambassador Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets, who stepped down in January.
And she may be thrown in the middle of two thorny diplomatic issues.
London is pushing for Washington to lift a COVID-19 ban on most travel from the UK.
Hartley is married to investment banker and Evercore Partners CEO Ralph Schlosstein. They have two children
While the UK requires US citizens to quarantine and test negative for Covid-19 before entering their country, the US still largely bans travelers from the UK.
Johnson and Biden set up a task force last month to evaluate the options for enabling travel between their two countries.
Prime Minister Johnson and Biden set up a task force last month to negotiate reopening travel without resolving the issue.
And she will be at the center of trade talks as the UK tries to negotiate a new, post-Brexit deal.
Biden called Hartley about two weeks ago to offer her the job, according to the Washington Post.
“The president told her, ‘I didn’t feel like giving this to a donor,’ and that she got it because of her experience and that he wanted her to know,” said a government official.