Joe Biden picking ‘amateur diplomats’ for key posts, ex-Obama official warns

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Joe Biden picking 'amateur diplomats' for key posts, ex-Obama official warns

President Joe Biden has been accused of further risking America’s “significantly” weakened standing in the world by picking “amateur diplomats” for crucial postings, according to a former Obama White House official.

Crisis management expert Brett Bruen, who spent two years as director of global engagement in the 44th president’s administration, lashed out Wednesday after Biden nominated prominent Democratic donor Jane Hartley, 71, to serve as US ambassador to the UK.

“We need to understand how much has changed since Trump,” Bruen told the UK’s Daily Telegraph of Biden’s predecessor in the White House.

“These aren’t the good ole’ days when Hartley and I served under President Obama.

“Our position in the world has weakened significantly and we no longer have the luxury of sending amateur diplomats abroad,” Bruen told the UK paper.

Hartley, a former TV exec, was a significant fundraiser for Biden’s 2020 presidential race and has been a big supporter of Democratic candidates over the years.

Biden nominated Jane D. Hartley to serve as US ambassador to the UK over the heads of several  more qualified candidates.
Biden nominated Jane Hartley, who had donated significantly to his campaign, to serve as US ambassador to the UK.
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Biden only picked Hartley for the crucial UK posting after the position was turned down by at least two other candidates, including former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, according to CNN. She previously served as ambassador to France and Monaco, getting picked by Obama for the post two years after she raised around $2.75 million for his 2012 reelection campaign, The Telegraph noted.

Hartley is also on the list of people who donated more than $100,000 to Biden’s successful election campaign.

Bruen, now president of the Global Situation Room consulting firm, insisted that the US “absolutely needs someone more seasoned” than Hartley to help nurture the special relationship with the UK.

“This is an essential relationship for restoring America’s credibility and influence across the globe,” he told The Telegraph.

“We need someone with exceptional skills and decades of experience. Because if we get this wrong, if we make one mistake in London, it will reverberate around the world,” he said.

While running for the White House, Biden had vowed that “nobody … will be appointed by me based on anything they contributed.”

Yet one year into his administration, the president has nominated 25 former “bundlers” — those who raised at least $100,000 for his campaign — and their spouses as ambassadors, according to the Washington Post.

The White House touted her previous experience having "worked to strengthen the US-France bilateral relationship, focusing on counterterrorism cooperation.”
The White House touted Hartley’s previous international experience having “worked to strengthen the US-France bilateral relationship.”
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
The nomination of Jane D. Hartley comes at a time when America needs to reassert their position in the global community.
The nomination of Jane Hartley comes at a time when America needs to reassert its position in the global community, says Bruen.
AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu, File

That amounts to 29 percent of Biden’s nominees, a higher share than George W. Bush or Barack Obama nominated in their first years in office, according to the paper’s analysis of data, which was unable to make a direct comparison with Trump. 

Announcing Hartley’s nomination Wednesday, the White House touted her previous experience having “worked to strengthen the US-France bilateral relationship, focusing on counterterrorism cooperation.” 

Hartley noted the gravity of the position.

French President Francois Hollande (left) awards the Legion of Honour to US ambassador to France Jane Hartley on January 17, 2017.
French President Francois Hollande awarded the Legion of Honour to then-US ambassador to France Jane Hartley on Jan. 17, 2017.
CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON/AFP via Getty Images

“Given the critical challenges we are facing at this time, the relationship with our allies is crucially important,” she said in a statement. “I look forward to strengthening our special relationship with the UK and deepening the partnership with one of our most important allies.”

The nominees all require Senate confirmation before they can assume their posts.

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