Huntsman gets nod as Russian ambassador, but for how long?

Huntsman gets nod as Russian ambassador, but for how long? (KUTV)

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) - Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., President Donald Trump's choice as U.S. ambassador to Russia, is cast as bright, diplomatic and a man of the world.

"He's got a certain grace about him, a certain tact about him," said state Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Davis County.

Huntsman's political resume is renowned - governor, ambassador to China, ambassador to Singapore, deputy U.S. trade representative, and presidential candidate - but all of those positions each lasted less than five years.

"For all of his qualities, there are some who say he doesn't stay very long at one job," 2News mentioned to Weiler.

"I think that's true," he replied. "It would be hard to argue."

Weiler was one of the first, if not the very first, to predict Huntsman would jump at the chance to be ambassador to China, something that happened soon after former President Barack Obama was sworn in for his first term.

Huntsman stayed in China less than two years, only to resign, return to the U.S., and launch his presidential run, which lasted through the New Hampshire primary in 2012.

"I think he wants to run for president again," Weiler said, adding the U.S. ambassador to Russia job is "absolutely" a stepping stone.

"And I think it's a great stepping stone," he said. "I think it's great for Huntsman, and I think it's great for the United States, and I think it's great for Trump."

Weiler said he hopes someone in the Trump administration said to Huntsman, "Can we get two or three years out of you (in Russia)?"

University of Utah political science associate professor Marjorie Castle said she does not see "ambassadorial longevity as necessarily crucial," though speaking up for human rights is.

Castle, who has expertise in Russian and European politics, called Huntsman "a solid, good choice" for the ambassador's post, but said the U.S. Embassy in Moscow "is more sidelined" under Trump.

"The ambassador's role in Russia, under this administration, is not that important?" 2News asked.

"Yeah, that's the simplest way of saying it," she said.

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