Joe Biden has nominated three of the wives of his political allies to coveted diplomatic posts – putting his own spin on the tradition of giving the positions to major donors.
The ambassadors to Austria, Slovenia and the U.N.’s world food program are all wives of supporters.
Biden is also reportedly considering Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of John F. Kennedy, for an ambassadorial role in Asia or Australia.
She was ambassador to Japan during the Obama administration.
Cindy McCain, for the U.N. role, was considered an essential candidate for an ambassador posting in the Biden administration, sources told .
Cindy McCain (left) will be dispatched to Rome and Jamie Harpootlian (right) to Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana if their nominations are approved
Carolina Kennedy is being considered for a role as an ambassador in Asia or Australia, according to reports. She is pictured with Biden in December 2013, when she was the Obama-appointed ambassador to Japan
Joe Biden and the then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (C) sit with Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former President John F. Kennedy during a ceremony to honor the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s Inaugural Address on January 20, 2011
The wife of the late Republican Senator John McCain was to be rewarded, the paper reported, both as a show of bipartisanship and as a way of rewarding a hugely influential campaigner, who helped him win the swing state of Arizona.
The White House also announced that Biden was nominating Jamie Harpootlian, a South Carolina attorney and influential Democrat in the early primary state, to serve as his ambassador to Slovenia.
She is married to another powerful South Carolina Democratic operative and Biden ally, state Senator Dick Harpootlian.
The most recent of the wives to be nominated is Victoria Kennedy, an attorney and the widow of Senator Ted Kennedy, who has been asked to serve as his ambassador to Austria.
Biden has also nominated women to be ambassadors to the United Kingdom and France – coveted roles, which come with splendid mansions in the heart of the European capitals.
Jane Hartley, a former ambassador to France, has been nominated as ambassador to Britain, and Denise Campbell Bauer to both France and Monaco.
Bauer was a major fundraiser for former President Barack Obama and had served in his administration as U.S. ambassador to Belgium between 2013 and the end of Obama’s final term.
President Biden has reportedly settled on Jane Hartley, fundraiser and former ambassador to Paris, as he pick to be his ambassador to London. It comes after months of uncertainty
Hartley is married to investment banker and Evercore Partners CEO Ralph Schlosstein. They have two children
The U.S. ambassador’s residence is Winfield House. With its 12.5 acres of grounds it has the second biggest garden in central London – after Buckingham Palace
The dining room at Winfield House as it prepared to host President Trump during his 2019 state visit
Kennedy, a gun control advocate and senior counsel at the law firm Greenberg Traurig, came to know the president during the years when Biden served with her husband in the Senate.
Ted Kennedy died in 2009 following a battle with brain cancer, and Biden delivered a eulogy at his funeral after serving with him in the Senate for 36 years.
The Democrat served for almost 47 years as the senator for Massachusetts, having been elected in 1962.
Kennedy, a 67-year-old mother-of-two is the president of the board and co-founder of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, a non-partisan nonprofit that educates the public.
She also leads the education committee of the board of trustees for the Kennedy Center in Washington.
Kennedy has also served on the boards of gun control advocacy groups, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in Washington, D.C., as well as Stop Handgun Violence in Boston.
She founded the group Common Sense about Kids and Guns, aimed at reducing guns deaths and injuries to children.
President Joe Biden is nominating Victoria Kennedy, an attorney and the widow of Sen. Ted Kennedy, to serve as his ambassador to Austria
Kennedy, a gun control advocate, came to know the president during the years when Biden served with her husband in the Senate. They are pictured together in Hyannis, Massachusetts, in 2006 before his death in 2009
Biden and Ted Kennedy appear together during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in October 1987
Victoria Kennedy introduces Biden to speak at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in 2016
Standing outside the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, from left, Edwin Schlossberg, Rose Schlossberg, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, Tatiana Schlossberg, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg
Ted Kennedy and his wife Victoria are pictured in New York City in 1994
‘My parents and grandparents taught us through the example of their own lives how important it is to serve and give back,’ Kennedy said in a statement.
‘And my late husband, and his extended family, embodied the noblest qualities of service to country.
‘I am humbled by the confidence the President has placed in me, and if confirmed, I look forward to being able to serve my country as ambassador to Austria.’
The nomination of Jamie Harpootlian appears to show Biden’s support for ally and state Senator Dick Harpootlian.
The president’s victory in the South Carolina primary turned out to be the turning point for a campaign that struggled out of the gate.
In May 2019, the Harpootlians held a fundraiser for Biden, which raised $115,000.
The couple also held a $5,000-per-couple fundraiser at their Columbia home in 2014, attended by the then-vice president, who was weighing a 2016 run.
She currently works at the Harpootlian law firm in Columbia and was a court-appointed Special Master, tasked with facilitating case resolution in complex, mass disaster class actions.
Jamie Harpootlian is pictured with her husband, Dick, a state senator in South Carolina
The U.S. Embassy in Ljubljana, which would serve as Harpootlian’s residence and office
She was a hearing officer on the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
She also worked for 17 years as a judicial law clerk in the US District Court of Louisiana and has worked for non profit groups supporting the environment, the arts and historic resources, according to her biography provided by the White House.
‘As someone who has spent much of my life in public service, I am honored and delighted by the opportunity to serve my country as Ambassador to the Republic of Slovenia,’ Harpootlian said in a statement.
‘My sincere gratitude to President Biden for putting his trust in me for this important position, and if confirmed, I look forward to our bilateral cooperation with the people of Slovenia.’
One of Biden’s earliest appointments was McCain.
Cindy McCain looks on as her late husband John shakes hands with Biden
McCain was a powerful campaigner for Biden in 2020, helping him win Arizona
John McCain and Biden were famously close, despite being from different parties, and Cindy McCain – hugely influential in their home state of Arizona – campaigned for Biden in 2020.
In the campaign video, McCain spoke about Biden’s ‘unlikely friendship’ with her husband.
‘My husband and Vice President Biden enjoyed a 30+ year friendship dating back to before their years serving together in the Senate,’ she tweeted before the Democratic convention.
‘So I was honored to accept the invitation from the Biden campaign to participate in a video celebrating their relationship.’
If confirmed to the post, she would represent the United States with the rank of ambassador at the Rome-based U.N. World Food Program, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, and the U.N. International Fund for Agricultural Development.
McCain is chair and director of the Phoenix-based Hensley Beverage Co, which distributes wine, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages.
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