President Donald Trump has tapped veteran diplomat and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman as ambassador to Russia, the White House said Tuesday.
The announcement came amid swirling controversy and multiple investigations into allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to win the 2016 election.
Huntsman, 57, previously served as US ambassador to China and Singapore.
If confirmed by the US Senate, Huntsman would venture to Moscow for a job that will be particularly high-profile as a special counsel probes the ever-growing Russia scandal plaguing the White House.
As a candidate, Trump criticized Huntsman, a fluent Mandarin speaker, for letting China do “a major number on the US” during his time in Beijing under former president Barack Obama.
He spent less than two years in that post before launching a failed bid to secure the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
A former governor of the state of Utah, Huntsman is also a director on a number of corporate boards, including Caterpillar, Chevron, Ford Motor Company and Hilton.
Huntsman initially endorsed Trump for president last year. He later called on the Republican to drop out following the release of a 2005 recording in which the former reality TV star used vulgar language to brag about groping women.
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