Joe Biden is set to pick Jane Hartley, a prolific Democrat fundraiser and former US ambassador to France, as the new envoy to the UK, according to diplomatic sources.
It comes after weeks of deliberation over who would occupy the role – with billionaire former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg, former secretary of state Colin Powell and John McCain’s widow Cindy McCain all among the powerful rumoured pipeline for the job.
The US president has now come to the decision that 71-year-old Jane Hartley, who was Obama’s ambassador in Paris, will take up the role in London, according to people familiar with the matter.
And with her new job comes an added perk: keys to the American ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park – which boasts the second-largest private garden in London after Buckingham Palace, according to The Times.
Hartley has been an active fundraiser for the Democrat party, and raised more than $500,000 for Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012.
She is not, however, one of Biden’s top campaign fundraisers, nor a close friend of his – so her nomination was not a given. But Hartley showed loyalty to the new US president in the first weeks of his election campaign, when some others were less supportive.
If chosen, Hartley will be the second woman ever to serve as the US envoy to the UK, after Anne Armstrong in the 1970s.
During her time as US ambassador to France during the Obama administration from 2014 until Trump’s inauguration in 2017, Hartley unexpectedly led US-France co-operation in the fight against terrorism.
This followed several attacks in 2015, including those on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and at a rock concert at a venue called the Bataclan.
The White House has not yet commented on Hartley’s appointment, which the Washington Post first reported – and confirmation by the Senate could take months.
If confirmed by Biden, Hartley will play a prominent role in forging US-UK relations at a critical time following the Trump presidency and Brexit.
It’s a job that usually goes to a big donor or friend of the new president, and saw Donald Trump nominate Woody Johnson – owner of the New York Jets football team – as his envoy to the UK.