U.S. President Joe Biden has nominated David Cohen, a tech executive who once served as chief of staff to the mayor of Philadelphia, to be his ambassador to Canada.
Cohen, a lawyer, lobbyist and fundraiser who currently serves as a senior adviser to the head of U.S. communications giant Comcast, had long been pegged as the likely nominee.
In addition to a number of roles in a variety of Comcast departments, a White House biography says Cohen also served as the company’s chief diversity officer.
But he’s no stranger to political circles: in addition to serving as the company’s primary lobbyist, Cohen spent five years as chief of staff to Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell in the 1990s.
He also hosted the first fundraising event of Biden’s successful 2020 presidential election campaign.
No diplomatic experience
A longtime U.S. diplomat and former official in the Obama White House criticized the announcement.
Brett Bruen told CBC News it was disappointing that yet another party donor with no diplomatic experience will represent the U.S. in its important post in Canada.
US-Canada relationship is one of our most important.<br><br>Disappointing to see someone with absolutely no diplomatic experience sent to manage them in Ottawa.<br><br>Discouraging Biden continues to treat these serious national security positions as though they are political party favors. <a href=”https://t.co/MCzxh4zJJz”>https://t.co/MCzxh4zJJz</a>
“Cohen is not the person best equipped to restore Canada’s confidence in the United States after four difficult years of Trump,” said Bruen, now president of the consulting firm Global Situation Room.
“We need deep diplomatic experience, not deep pockets to navigate through these turbulent times.”
The most recent nominations have gone to prominent campaign donors.
In other long-awaited nominations, Biden also named Victoria Reggie Kennedy, a prominent D.C. lawyer and widow of U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, to be his envoy to Austria, and Jamie Harpootlian to take up the post in Slovenia.