Philly’s David L. Cohen confirmed as US ambassador to Canada

David L. Cohen has been confirmed as President Joe Biden's ambassador to Canada. (Monica Herndon/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)

Former Comcast executive David L. Cohen was confirmed Tuesday night as U.S. ambassador to Canada, making him the face of the Biden administration with one of America’s most significant allies.

In a sign of the bipartisan support for his nomination, Cohen was approved by unanimous consent in the full Senate, even as Republicans blocked eight other State Department nominees whom Democrats attempted to advance.

Cohen is a longtime powerhouse in Philadelphia’s civic, political and business circles, and was one of Biden’s top fundraisers during his 2020 presidential campaign. Biden’s first formal campaign event was held in Cohen’s home. The efforts raised more than $700,000.

“Canada is one of our most important allies, and we rely on them as a major trade, energy and security partner. David’s strong business background, deep understanding of government at all levels, and passion for service prepare him well for this role,” said Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who supported Cohen’s nomination.

Cohen, despite rising in politics as a top aide to former Gov. Ed Rendell and mostly supporting Democrats, also raised money for Toomey’s 2016 reelection.

America and Canada share the largest land border in the world and Canada is one of the United States’ largest trading partners, valued at nearly $1.7 billion a day. Canada is the top export market for more than 30 states, Cohen told a Senate committee in September. Maintaining that economic relationship was at the top of his priorities, he said during that hearing.

Comcast Chairman Brian L. Roberts said Cohen will “bring his energy, passion and incredible work ethic to Ottawa.”

Despite Cohen’s confirmation, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, railed against GOP obstruction of other nominees, saying Republicans were holding up critical nominees, including would-be ambassadors to Israel and NATO.


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