President Joe Biden will announce Friday that he's nominating Rufus Gifford, former ambassador to Denmark, as his chief of protocol at the State Department, a person familiar with the matter tells Axios.
Why it matters: The position, which holds an ambassadorial rank, will mark Biden’s first ambassador announcement outside of the career foreign service, with more names expected as early as next week.
- The chief of protocol helps to plan the president’s travel abroad and coordinates visits of foreign leaders to the United States to showcase American traditions, cultures and institutions.
- Gifford, 46, whose expected appointment was reported by Axios in January, was a deputy campaign manager for Biden. He achieved celebrity status in Denmark, where he married his husband, Stephen DeVincent, in Copenhagen's city hall.
What's next: Biden also will name Kathleen Miller as his nominee for Pentagon comptroller, the source said.
The big picture: Donors and political allies have been waiting for Biden to start making ambassadorial announcements for months, with some frustration building among donors.
- Many of them have been angling for prized positions in European capitals, which come with a resplendent residence, a busy social calendar — and, in the case of Rome, a wine cellar in the city’s catacombs.
- Biden plans to pluck roughly 30% of his ambassadors from outside the career foreign service, and he'll draw heavily on political allies, as opposed to pure big-dollar donors.
- Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is in line for Japan, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti will be nominated for India and Tom Nides, a Democratic wiseman and former deputy secretary of state, is heading to Israel.
- Nick Burns, a career foreign services officer, who served both Republican and Democratic presidents as an ambassador, is expected to named for China.