Ken Salazar nominated to be U.S. ambassador to Mexico

Ken Salazar (Casa de América/Flickr)

President Joe Biden has nominated Ken Salazar, a former U.S. senator from Colorado, to serve as the next ambassador to Mexico.

Salazar, 66, is the former secretary of the interior under President Barack Obama and had served as a Democrat in the U.S. Senate for four years before that. He is currently an attorney at WilmerHale and founder of the firm’s Denver office.

Salazar’s nomination will now go to the U.S. Senate, which must confirm him before he can take over the U.S. embassy in Mexico City.

His nomination comes at a time when the Biden administration is trying to deal with a large influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, a politically fraught issue that poses humanitarian and logistical challenges.

Salazar, who has never been a diplomat, is a break from Biden’s tendency; of the 19 ambassador nominees sent to the Senate, 13 are career diplomats.

Salazar’s successor in the Senate, Democrat Michael Bennet, said Biden “has made a terrific choice” in nominating Salazar. Colorado’s other senator, Democrat John Hickenlooper, predicted that Salazar “will revitalize the relationship with a neighbor, ally and one of our biggest trading partners.”

Kyle Kohli, executive director of the conservative advocacy group Compass Colorado, is skeptical that will occur.

“Ken Salazar once said border relations with Mexico are about building ‘trust,'” Kohli said, referring to a 2017 tweet from Salazar. “How can Mexico’s government trust the Biden administration when Vice President (Kamala) Harris won’t visit the southern border or address the surging humanitarian crisis?”


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