U.S. President Joe Biden removes his face mask as he delivers remarks on the administration's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response outside the White House in Washington, U.S., April 27, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
'Unity is elusive' as Biden enters second year as president
04:08 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

President Joe Biden will announce his intent to nominate four additional ambassadors to key posts, including the United Kingdom, ahead of his Wednesday afternoon news conference.

CNN reported in July that Biden would name Jane Hartley, a former US ambassador to France, to be ambassador to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. At least two candidates turned it down, including former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for unstated reasons, a person familiar with the decision told CNN this summer.

The position is one of the highest-profile ambassadorial posts for any administration, tasked with upholding the vaunted “special relationship,” and comes with a Georgian-style mansion in Regent’s Park.

Wednesday’s announcement makes Hartley’s nomination official. Hartley was a major fundraiser for former President Barack Obama, and to a lesser extent for Biden. Her tenure in Paris coincided with a major terrorist attack in the French capital in 2015, during which she coordinated extensively with Washington to manage diplomatic assistance.

Additionally, Elizabeth Bagley, who has worked with Secretaries of State John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Madeline Albright, will be nominated as ambassador to Brazil. Alexander Laskaris, a career foreign service official and current senior adviser in the Bureau of African Affairs, will be nominated to the post of ambassador to the Republic of Chad. And Biden fundraiser Alan Leventhal, the chairman and CEO of commercial real estate firm Beacon Capital Partners, will be nominated as ambassador to Denmark.

The Senate confirmed a slate of more than three dozen ambassadors for key posts ahead of the holiday break late last year, ending a months-long Republican-led blockade on quick consideration of diplomatic nominations. But the Biden administration has lagged in its nominations overall compared to other administrations.

Ahead of Wednesday’s announcements, a Washington Post analysis of data from the Partnership for Public Service, OpenSecrets, and Biden’s campaign found that Biden has nominated 25 former top fundraisers or their spouses as ambassadors, representing 29 percent of his ambassadorial nominees.

CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to clarify that the US ambassador’s residence in the United Kingdom is built in the Georgian style.