Less than a week ago, Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a secret phone call in which they discussed the need to replace former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman as United States Ambassador to Russia. Today, Huntsman announced he will resign from the job, according to an Associated Press report.
Trump’s call to Putin took place on Wednesday, but as The Inquisitr reported, the White House did not issue acknowledgement that the call took place until hours later, at about 10:30 p.m., EDT. That admission came long after the Kremlin publicly announced the call.
However, neither the Kremlin nor the White House revealed that Trump and Putin had discussed replacing Huntsman. That did not happen until a CNN report on Saturday cited “senior administration officials” saying that the topic of replacing the U.S. ambassador to Russia was discussed by the U.S. and Russian leaders.
Huntsman, a Republican who served as ambassador to China under President Barack Obama, had been expected to leave his Russia post shortly. According to CNN, he has spent the past several weeks on a “farewell tour” of Russia, meeting with top officials along the way.
According to The Deseret News, Huntsman may be considering a second run for governor of Utah, the job he resigned when Obama appointed him to the China post in 2009.
But according to CNN, Huntsman’s wife Mary Kaye Huntsman denied that her husband had undertaken a “farewell tour.”
Huntsman, 59, is the son of billionaire chemicals manufacturing magnate Jon Huntsman Sr., and staged a brief run for president as a Republican in the 2012 election, according to ABC News. He ran for the opportunity to oppose Obama, the president under whom he served as China ambassador in the general election.
In his resignation letter, readable online via the archival site DocumentCloud, Huntsman appears to level criticism at Trump’s apparent high level of friendliness with Putin and sympathy to Russia in general, saying that the differences between the U.S. and Russia are “irreconcilable,” and that “we must continue to hold Russia accountable when its behavior threatens us and our allies.”
“No reset or restart is going to help,” Huntsman wrote in the resignation letter, in which he also stated that he will serve in the post until October, giving Trump time to find a new U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Bloomberg News reported.
But Bloomberg also reported that Trump will likely encounter difficulty finding a nominee in that time frame. In addition, the source said Senators would likely press any nominee to “strongly condemn Putin for interfering in U.S. elections.”
As recently as last week, Donald Trump has continued to deny that Russian election interference took place in the 2016 election, or will take place in the 2020 election, as The Inquisitr reported.