President Joe Biden has appointed David Cohen, a tech executive who once served as chief of staff to the mayor of Philadelphia, to be his ambassador to Canada.
Mr. Cohen, a lawyer, lobbyist and fundraiser who is currently a senior advisor to the boss of US communications giant Comcast, had long been a prospective candidate.
In addition to a number of roles in various departments at Comcast, a White House biography indicates that Mr. Cohen also served as the company's director of diversity.
But he's no stranger to politics: In addition to being the company's main lobbyist, Mr. Cohen spent five years as chief of staff to Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell in the 1990s.
He also hosted the first fundraising event for Mr. Biden's presidential election campaign in 2020.
David L. Cohen will succeed Kelly Knight Craft. This longtime Republican was appointed by Donald Trump in 2017 before being transferred to the UN two years later. Since then, three acting ambassadors have followed one another in Ottawa.
The sooner this appointment is approved by the Senate, the better off relations between the two countries will be, said Canada-United States Business Council President and CEO Maryscott Greenwood.
In a statement, Greenwood highlighted issues that need to be addressed, such as divergent travel restrictions between Canada and the United States as well as the “roadmap” announced in February by Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for closer bilateral relations, which she said should be pursued with attention.
The need to return to a well-coordinated and reciprocal border management process is more important than ever, and the announcement of the roadmap by the President and the Prime Minister needs our best navigators to turn its ambitious goals into reality. .
Mr. Cohen's appointment comes as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has extended overland travel restrictions at the Canada-U.S. Border by one month.
Several groups, including U.S. lawmakers, are unhappy with the move, as Canada announced earlier this week that it would allow fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents to return to the country from August 9.
In a statement, David Cohen said that if the Senate confirms his appointment, he will seek to develop this
important relation as the two countries seek to bounce back from the pandemic.
A partisan appointment criticized
A consultant and former US diplomat who worked as a White House adviser under Barack Obama, Brett Bruen, criticized Biden's choice.
The relationship between the United States and Canada is one of our most important. Disappointing to see someone with no diplomatic experience sent to Ottawa to deal with it, he wrote on Twitter.
Mr. Bruen also finds
discouraging that President Biden continue to treat these important national security posts as if they were a partisan appointment.
In other expected appointments, Mr Biden also nominated Victoria Reggie Kennedy, a prominent Washington D.C. lawyer and widow of US Senator Ted Kennedy, to be his envoy to Austria, and Jamie Harpootlian to fill the post in Slovenia.