03/08/17 the hill
President Donald Trump has picked former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) to be ambassador to Russia.
NBC News reported on Wednesday evening that the former presidential candidate had accepted the role.
Huntsman, who served as former President Barack Obama‘s ambassador to China, was offered the position earlier this week.
Reports surfaced earlier this month that Huntsman was in talks for the job.
Rumors also put Huntsman as a potential secretary of State candidate, but President Trump eventually chose Rex Tillerson for the position.
The former Utah governor endorsed Trump’s presidential bid last year, but later called for Trump to drop out of the race after the release of the 2005 tape in which the GOP candidate was heard talking about sexual assaulting women.
“In a campaign cycle that has been nothing but a race to the bottom — at such a critical moment for our nation — and with so many who have tried to be respectful of a record primary vote, the time has come for Governor [Mike] Pence [R-Ind.] to lead the ticket,” Huntsman told the Salt Lake Tribune last October.
A source close to the administration told Politico that it is a “bit bizarre because he was so anti-Trump last year.”
“But it’s also a smart choice, because he really knows his [stuff],” the source said.
Trump’s administration has been plagued by persistent revelations about connections between his aides and Russia.
U.S. intelligence agencies believe that Russian-backed hackers attempted to sway the election for Trump, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from any Russia investigations after failing to disclose meetings with the Russian ambassador while under oath during his Senate confirmation hearing.