Biden eases expectations of high dollar donors hoping for diplomatic plum posts
President Biden is softening ambassadorial expectations from his major donors, signaling that he will not be handing out plum items for months and suggesting that he will nominate fewer of them than his predecessors. The big picture: The president welcomed the Democratic Party's drive for diversity in his cabinet election. Now lawmakers are putting pressure on him to expand it to include ambassador selection, which means white male donors – the core of his fundraising base – will be in serious competition for fewer spots. Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs, and top politicians read. Sign up for the Axios newsletter here. What We Hear: Biden will most likely reward loyal politicians and former aides when talking about former senators like Claire McCaskill heading for a gold-plated post in Europe. * On the policymaker side, Julianne Smith, a former Biden adviser, could be nominated as ambassador to NATO. * In the donor class, Denise Bauer, Obama's ambassador to Belgium, was one of the best fundraisers. She could return to Europe, possibly Paris, among the most coveted positions. * Doug Hickey, another major Biden donor, is also interested in an overseas assignment. * James Costos, a former HBO executive who served as Obama's ambassador to Spain, has expressed an interest in the UK but many others are interested, including David Cohen, a Comcast executive. * Louis Frillman, a real estate investor, and Nathalie Rayes, president of the Latino Victory Project, have told employees that they are interested in Madrid or another European position. The Big Question: The Embassy in China recently went to former Beijing politicians with the prestige of a big brand name and the White House the convenience of its envoy has a political antenna to spot potential problems. * If Biden names Disney CEO Robert Iger, who has notified Biden officials that he is interested, that would blow this form. Biden is due to visit the State Department on Monday, weather permitting, underscoring America's commitment to allies and partners. He is also expected to make comments on his foreign policy initiatives. * While the president will certainly nominate some top donors, others get nervous that they will be passed over and feverishly push their cases. * While more than 800 individuals and couples raised more than $ 100,000 for Biden's presidential bid, the more elite group of "coordinators" raised that amount well above that and also gave the Biden Victory Fund the maximum of $ 620,000. With the numbers: Biden is likely to receive non-career nominations for about 30% of the total of 190 ambassadorial positions, 70% for overseas service, according to those familiar with the matter. * This ratio of 70:30 would be the traditional split according to the American Foreign Service Association. * President Trump deviated by nominating political ambassadors for approximately 44% of his appointments. * Trump's nominations also varied widely, with more than 90% of his openings going to whites, Foreign Policy reported in 2018. Going on: The political category has always been broadly divided into three areas: policy experts, politicians and donors. * Biden is expected to pull more out of the first two categories, leaving fewer positions for donors looking to build a successful business career with a foreign posting. * Biden has an extensive network of Beltway friends and allies, but has never been more successful – or dependent on the money and celebrity courses in New York and California. Support safe, intelligent, and sensible journalism. Sign up for the Axios newsletter here.