Politico first reported that President Donald Trump offered Huntsman the position earlier this week. This will be Huntsman’s third ambassadorship after serving as the official envoy to Singapore under George H.W. Bush and to China under Barack Obama.
The Huffington Post has reached out to Huntsman for comment. The White House declined a request to comment.
Huntsman, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate who initially endorsed Trump during the 2016 election campaign, became an outspoken critic of the candidate after the release of a 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording of Trump boasting about sexually assaulting women. Huntsman called on Trump to drop out of the race at the time.
Huntsman’s role will likely be under sharp scrutiny. The Trump administration’s relationship to Russia has been a lightning rod of criticism for months after many of his senior advisers were found to have met with Russian officials without disclosing those meetings to the public.
Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was forced to resign last month after discussing U.S. sanctions against Russia with the country’s ambassador before Trump’s inauguration. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any investigations into Russian influence in the 2016 election after intense criticism that he met with the same ambassador. And many others on Trump’s team have been linked to Russian interests.