US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman Resigns After Nearly Two Years

August 6, 2019 Updated: August 6, 2019

The U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, announced he was resigning on Aug. 6.

Huntsman, 59, was appointed in October 2017.

Huntsman submitted his resignation letter to President Donald Trump, writing that he will stay in his position until Oct. 3, according to a copy obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune.

“American citizenship is a privilege and I believe the most basic responsibility in return is service to country,” Huntsman wrote to Trump. “To that end, I am honored by the trust you have placed in me as the United States ambassador to Russia during this historically difficult period in bilateral relations.”

Huntsman said he enjoyed his time as ambassador and that it was an honor.

“As I have shared with and Secretary [Mike] Pompeo, our desire is to return to the United States after two years to reconnect with our growing family and responsibilities at home,” Huntsman wrote.

“It is my hope that this will allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed. I pledge my full effort in facilitating a smooth transition that ensures our foreign policy goals are kept in proper focus.”

Huntsman was governor of Utah from 2005 and 2009 and is rumored to be considering a run for the position. He won every county in the state in 2008 and left office extremely popular, polling above 80 percent approval.

Huntsman served in the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush before becoming governor of Utah. President Barack Obama appointed Huntsman as U.S. Ambassador to China in 2009 and Huntsman briefly ran for president in 2011 before working for a think tank until Trump tapped him for the U.S. Ambassador to Russia position.

In the letter, Huntsman referred to the relationship between Russia and the United States, saying America “must continue to hold Russia accountable when its behavior threatens us and our allies.”

“While much of what divides us is irreconcilable, there are common interests we cannot ignore. No reset or restart is going to help, just a clear understanding of our interests and values—and a practical framework for sustained dialogue,” he wrote.

“Through our diplomacy, we have worked to stabilize years of acrimony and incertitude with the hope of a better relationship. Failure is not an option, and the people on both sides deserve better.”

Trump has not commented on the resignation.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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