ST. GEORGE – Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. was confirmed by the U.S. Senate Thursday to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Russia.
Like his approval in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday, Huntsman’s Senate confirmation Thursday was unanimous.
Huntsman takes on the post as the nation’s top diplomatic envoy to the Russian Federation at a time when the nation is accused of meddling in the United States’ 2016 presidential elections. This, among other issues between the two nations, hasn’t exactly made for a warm relationship.
For his part, Huntsman told a Senate committee last week that there is “no question that the Russian government interfered in the U.S. election last year and Moscow continues to meddle in the democratic processes of our friends and allies.”
Members of the Senate committees who interviewed Huntsman praised his qualifications and said he is possibly one of the most-qualified candidates for the ambassadorship they’d ever seen.
Huntsman has served as the United States ambassador to Singapore under President George H.W. Bush during the 1990s and later as the ambassador to China under President Barack Obama. He left that post in 2012 to run for president.
“While I am confident my previous experiences prepare me for this sensitive diplomatic mission, I am under no illusion that serving as the U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation will be easy or simple,” Huntsman told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a prepared statement Tuesday.
Among those praising Huntsman’s confirmation Thursday were Utah’s senators who issued the following statements:
Sen. Orrin Hatch
I congratulate my friend, Jon Huntsman, on his appointment to serve as the next ambassador to Russia. This particular ambassadorship requires a great deal of poise, intellect and experience, and I have no doubt that Jon is just the man for the job.
Sen. Mike Lee
Ambassador Huntsman is a dedicated public servant and a good, personal friend, and I am happy to congratulate him on his recent confirmation. He is an experienced statesman, and I know he will tackle this role and its responsibilities with the same efficiency, effectiveness and fine-tuned diplomacy that he applied to his roles as Chinese ambassador and governor of the great state of Utah.
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