President Donald Trump’s decision to tap the Republican former Utah governor as the US ambassador to Russia puts Huntsman on the sidelines the day before veteran Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch announced his plans Thursday to run for another term in 2018. The two moves came amid speculation which Huntsman would certainly challenge Hatch inside the Republican primary.
Unlike several different former Trump critics who have lost out on political appointments, Huntsman’s harsh words during the home stretch of the campaign didn’t doom him. Several senior administration officials told sy88pgw Wednesday which Huntsman had accepted the diplomatic posting.
On Tuesday, Huntsman had dodged a question by a Washington Post reporter — asked in front of Hatch — about whether he would certainly challenge Hatch in Utah.
Huntsman did not respond to a request for comment just for This specific story.
Huntsman got the nod despite his criticism of Trump during the presidential race — particularly his assertion which Trump should step aside in addition to vice presidential nominee Mike Pence should head the ticket after the 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape surfaced.
Many different Trump critics — including long-time Huntsman rival Mitt Romney, another Mormon with Utah ties who was inside the running for secretary of state — have not landed posts in Trump’s administration.
which’s the second time inside the last eight years which a president has named Huntsman an ambassador amid speculation about the 56-year-old’s political aspirations.
In 2008, Obama’s move came as Democrats feared Huntsman would certainly be a viable 2012 presidential challenger.
which didn’t prevent Huntsman by running. He resigned as the ambassador to China in time to return to the United States in addition to launch a bid for the GOP nomination.
yet his tenure in Obama’s administration — including his praise for Obama in addition to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — did doom Huntsman inside the Republican primary. His candidacy never got off the ground in addition to he dropped out of the race after finishing third inside the brand-new Hampshire primary.
One of the fellow Republicans who held his feet to the fire was Trump. The billionaire businessman repeatedly jabbed Huntsman during which 2012 campaign, mocking his tenure as ambassador to China.
“Jon Huntsman called to see me. I said no, he gave away our country to China!” Trump tweeted in February 2012, three weeks after Huntsman had dropped out of the GOP presidential race.
In September 2011, Trump bragged on Twitter which he hadn’t returned Huntsman’s call.
In December, he called Huntsman a “lightweight.”
Later which month, he called Huntsman a “weak” diplomat.
Huntsman, unlike some different perceived GOP moderates, had held his tongue on Trump through most of the campaign — yet unloaded after the “Access Hollywood” tape, in which Trump made lewd in addition to sexually aggressive remarks about women, became public.
“In a campaign cycle which has been nothing yet a race to the bottom — at such a critical moment for our nation — in addition to with so many who have tried to be respectful of a record primary vote, the time has come for Governor Pence to lead the ticket,” Huntsman told The Salt Lake Tribune.
Trump has already rejected candidates for diplomatic posts over their criticism of him.
Elliot Abrams, whom Secretary of State Rex Tillerson chose over Huntsman as his No. 2, was nixed by Trump after finding out about a negative article the former George W. Bush adviser had written of the GOP nominee.
which treatment has led many Washington observers to see Huntsman’s appointment as aimed at neutralizing his political threat — one which Abrams didn’t represent.
Administration officials, for their part, have been quick to praise Huntsman’s diplomatic chops.
Huntsman, who speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese in addition to whose family lived in addition to worked in Taiwan for a period inside the 1980s, worked in a series of Asia-focused commerce in addition to trade posts under President George H.W. Bush before being named ambassador to Singapore at age 32. He was a deputy US trade representative under President George W. Bush before being elected governor of Utah.
One senior administration official said Huntsman was tapped for the Russian ambassadorship because he is actually a “brilliant guy,” “tough” in addition to understands what the President wants.
“Jon Huntsman is actually an individual who can bring a great sense of reality — he understands international politics as well as anybody I know in addition to I think he’s a remarkably Great choice just for This specific job,” Pickering added.
The Russian government reacted to the choice with more circumspection.
Asked Thursday about the likely appointment of Huntsman, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “We would certainly welcome any head of the US Embassy in Moscow who will be strongly committed to idea of a dialogue with Moscow.”