Joe Biden considering Pete Buttigieg for high-profile Chinese ambassador post after passing on him for top UN role
US president-elect Joe Biden is reportedly considering picking his former Democratic rival turned biggest ally Pete Buttigieg as the US ambassador to China.
As Biden selects his nominee for his cabinet and the many tops roles constellating it, whispers of a high-profile spot for Buttigieg have rumbled for weeks, keen to slot in the rising star who has delighted Democrats this year.
Sources told Axios that the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor is now in the running for the top post in the US liaison office in Beijing.
An Afghanistan war veteran, if Buttigieg is appointed by Biden and a subsequent Senate hearing, he would become the youngest person ever to hold the position.
Indeed, it’s a post traditionally reserved for politicians with decades-long experience, signalling the depth of support Buttigieg has earned from party leaders.
Pete Buttigieg, once small town mayor, may become key player in Joe Biden’s inner circle
The sources said that Biden’s team has wholly acknowledged Buttigieg’s political potential, adding that the Biden administration sees him as a future president. Such a role, they said, would give China a chance to know him.
It comes as relations between the two heavyweights have sunk, vastly eroded in a war of words over tariffs and the coronavirus by Donald Trump.
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They noted that Biden overlooked Buttigieg as ambassador to the United Nations, a job he was reportedly vying for. Flagging an interest among Biden’s transition team in foreign policy or national security.
But if he’s not catching a jet to Beijing, Buttigieg may be installed in a domestic cabinet role – with transport and commerce allegedly on the cards.
The 38-year-old, a polyglot and pioneer, became the first openly gay presidential candidate, rocketing up to the primary’s top tier but dropped after struggling to build a broad enough voting base.
He quickly emerged as a high-decibel supporter of his fellow pugnacious moderate, who compared Buttigieg to his late son, Beau.
“I don’t think I’ve ever done this before, but he reminds me of my son Beau,” Biden said.
“I know that may not mean much to most people, but, to me, it’s the highest compliment I can give any man or woman.”