Politico

Biden nominates longtime allies for 3 ambassadorships


President Joe Biden unveiled three nominees for ambassadorships on Wednesday, taking the first step to fill posts in Sweden, Belgium and the Dominican Republic with longtime allies of his.

For the Belgium job, Biden tapped Michael Adler, a Miami real estate developer, confirming expectations that the president’s friend would snag the nomination. Adler, who is on the board of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, originally had his sights set on the Israel ambassadorship.

Adler and Biden’s relationship spans over four decades. When Biden ran for president in 2008, Adler served as his national finance chair, and he was Biden’s campaign surrogate in Florida for the 2020 race.

“The relationship between the United States and Belgium is one of good friends and NATO allies. If confirmed to this important role, I will work hard to further strengthen the strong ties between our governments and our peoples as we continue to cooperate on the full range of global challenges,” Adler said in a statement.

Biden nominated Erik Ramanathan to serve as ambassador to Sweden. Ramanathan is chair of the board of Heluna Health, a national public health nonprofit. He was previously executive director of the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession.

Ramanathan is another longtime ally who wanted Biden to run for president in 2016. He has served on the national finance committees of Biden for President and of the Democratic National Committee, according to his LinkedIn.

“If confirmed, I look forward to serving with a talented team of diplomats to build upon our deep and venerable friendship with Sweden,” he said in a statement. “I will work to advance our partnership in areas including trade, investment, defense, and human rights while strengthening collaborations with respect to the many challenges we face together, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the climate crisis.”

Biden’s third nomination on Wednesday went to Calvin Smyre, who served as a Georgia state representative for 47 years and was chair of the Democratic Caucus within the Georgia General Assembly for over a decade. Known as dean of the House in the Georgia Capitol, Smyre will serve as ambassador to the Dominican Republic if confirmed.

Smyre’s footprint in the Democratic Party is expansive. He served as deputy to former President Jimmy Carter during his 1980 reelection campaign and co-chaired Bill Clinton’s Georgia campaigns in 1992 and 1996.

He was also a Democratic elector in nine of the last 11 presidential elections, and was one of Biden’s earliest supporters in Georgia, which turned blue for Biden in 2020.

“As a longtime businessman and public servant, I will bring my background and experience to continue the significant work with an important economic partner in the Caribbean,” Smyre said in a statement.

The Biden administration has said it intends to keep the ratio of career appointees to political appointees closer to the traditional 70 to 30 percent. As of Sept. 13, Biden was at roughly 42 percent career appointments, with other appointments at roughly 57 percent.

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