Biden appoints wealthy Democratic donor as US ambassador to UK | Biden Administration

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Democrat businesswoman and fundraiser Jane Hartley has been named the next US ambassador to Britain, continuing a bipartisan practice over the past decades of appointing wealthy donors to the prestigious post. .

Hartley, who served as ambassador to Paris in the Obama administration, is a business executive and is married to an investment banker, with a record of large-scale fundraising for Democratic candidates.

She was a campaign “builder”, meaning she solicited and coordinated over $100,000 in party contributions from donor groups. During the presidential campaign, Joe Biden said he would break with the practice of handing out ambassadorial positions as rewards to wealthy loyalists.

“I will nominate the best possible people,” he promised. “No one, in fact, will be named by me based on their contribution.”

Despite that campaign promise, 25 of Biden’s ambassador picks are former “consolidators,” a third of the total, according to a Washington Post analysis published before Hartley’s announcement.

That’s a higher proportion of fundraisers than Barack Obama or George W Bush nominated in their first year. Donald Trump has not released figures for the number of “bundlers” he has appointed ambassador, but he has made a higher percentage of political appointments than his predecessors.

Hartley, 71, will now face Senate confirmation hearings. She was a White House staffer in the Jimmy Carter administration, but later went into business and became chief executive of consulting firms G7 and Observatory Group. Her husband Ralph Schlosstein is the CEO of Evercore Partners, a global investment banking advisory firm.

The main controversy during Hartley’s tenure as ambassador in Paris was her decision to commission Jeff Koons for a monument commemorating the 2015 wave of terrorist attacks in the French capital. Koons produced a giant metallic hand holding a bouquet of multicolored tulips, which sparked an outcry of complaints about its suitability, both in style and location.

The location of the 35-tonne sculpture was in a very wealthy neighborhood just off the Champs-Élysées and not in the poorer 11th arrondissement where the murders took place in and around the Bataclan theatre. French cultural figures wrote an open letter condemning it as an “opportunistic, even cynical” project.

“It’s truly shocking that Biden has come up with so much with so little diplomatic experience,” said Brett Bruen, director of global engagement at the Obama White House. “In the past, when Hartley served, the stakes were not so high for an ambassador. But, now that the very credibility of our country is at stake, with confidence in our leadership at an all-time low, we cannot not send amateur diplomats abroad.

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