Utah Governor Jon Huntsman has gone from being the target of Trump’s Twitter rage to a potential solution for one of the President’s biggest problems: diplomacy with Russia. Though Huntsman was a vocal critic of then-candidate Trump after his infamous comments about grabbing women against their will, it seems his serious diplomatic chops — as ambassador to Singapore under George W. Bush and China under Barack Obama — have earned him forgiveness. And, potentially, a new job. The White House just unveiled its nomination of Hunt for the role of Ambassador to Russia.
“Governor Jon Huntsman has had a distinguished career as a politician, diplomat, and businessman,” said the Press Secretary’s office in a statement. “His robust record of public service includes service as U.S. Ambassador to China and to Singapore, Deputy United States Trade Representative, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Trade Development.” That certainly is a robust record, and it doesn’t even include his corporate resume, which includes household names like Hilton, Chevron and Ford.
If he accepts the nomination, it would mean that Huntsman wouldn’t be running against Utah Senator Orrin Hatch in the 2018 elections. Hatch recently spoke up in favor of a healthcare compromise to repeal Obamacare now, without a replacement, but delay the repeal from going into effect until after the 2018 elections. Hatch has also been in the news lately for defending Don Jr. after revelations of his meeting with a Russian lawyer lit up Capitol Hill. He’s long been one of Trump’s biggest allies in the GOP (and subject of left-wing rumors), a far cry from Huntsman’s history with the president.
Huntsman and Trump have both been big critics of one another. Trump tweeted in 2012 about the job Huntsman was doing in China, saying he refused to meet with him in a jab similar to that he recently laid down on Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Last year, Huntsman called for then-candidate Trump to resign after an Access Hollywood tape was released in which Trump discussed assaulting women. Given the frustrations of other diplomats to key countries in the past few months, however, Huntsman’s history of disagreement might not matter much if he’s hamstrung on the job by other tensions in the Trump administration.