Biden to tap former ambassador to France as his ambassador to the UK after lengthy search
Charles Platiau/Reuters

Biden to tap former ambassador to France as his ambassador to the UK after lengthy search

President Joe Biden will name Jane Hartley as his ambassador to the United Kingdom after a lengthy search, a person familiar with the decision told CNN.

Hartley, the former US ambassador to France, has not been officially named as Biden’s choice for ambassador to the Court of St. James, but the decision has been made internally, the source said. Biden has spent months searching for a candidate to fill the prestigious role, a process that has been the subject of considerable discussion on both sides of the Atlantic.

At least two candidates turned it down, including former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for unstated reasons, according to a separate person.

Hartley was a major fundraiser for former President Barack Obama, and to a lesser extent for Biden. Her tenure in Paris coincided with a major terrorist attack in the French capital in 2015, during which she coordinated extensively with Washington to manage diplomatic assistance.

After the attack, Obama drew widespread criticism for not attending a peace march in Paris that drew other major world leaders, including of the United Kingdom and Germany. He sent Hartley instead, widely viewed as a poor substitute for himself or Biden. The White House later admitted it was a mistake.

“It’s fair to say that we should have sent someone with a higher profile to be there,” then-press secretary Josh Earnest said.

The Biden administration has started notifying countries of the President’s choices, officials said, which is one of the final steps before the ambassador nominations are formally made. The nomination must be confirmed by the US Senate.

The White House declined to comment. The Washington Post first reported Hartley as the selection.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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