Breaking News: Donald Trump has selected long-serving Iowa Governor Terry Branstad to become the Ambassador to China.
What does a governor from smack dab in the middle of the Heartland know about China?
A lot. And it turns out he has a fantastic relationship started already.
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Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has been picked for the post of US ambassador to China by President-elected Donald Trump.
Trump spokesperson Jason Miller confirmed that Branstad had accepted the offer on the transition’s daily call with reporters. Miller also said that Branstad will join Trump at his Des Moines rally Thursday, one of the stops on Trump’s “thank you” tour of rallies in swing states.
Miller cited Branstad’s experience in public policy, trade, and agriculture as attributes that led to his selection as Trump’s envoy in Beijing. Branstad, Miller said, “has a tremendous understanding of China and the Chinese people, and is someone who very much impressed the President-elect, not just during their meetings on the campaign trail but also in their meetings after the election.”
“It’s very clear that Gov. Branstad is someone who will represent our country well on the world stage, and we couldn’t be prouder of this selection,” Miller said.
The Trump campaign formally announced the decision in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
“Governor Branstad’s decades of experience in public service and long-time relationship with President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders make him the ideal choice to serve as America’s Ambassador to China,” Trump said in a statement.
Branstad is uniquely well-suited to the job, having a close, decades-long relationship with Xi. The two have known each other since 1985, when Xi visited Iowa as a provincial official on a state exchange program during Branstad’s first term as governor, and have maintained a friendship of sorts — Xi met with Branstad during a visit to the US in 2012 as a vice-president on the verge of taking power in China. At a press conference Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Branstad “is an old friend of the Chinese people, and we welcome his greater contribution to the development of China-US relations.”
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