WASHINGTON — President Trump nominated former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) to fill the vacant role of U.S. ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
The post was filled for nearly four years by Douglas Lute, a retired Army lieutenant general who had previously served as President George W. Bush’s adviser on Iraq and Afghanistan before President Obama asked him to coordinate U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Obama then nominated Lute to NATO in 2013; Lute left on Inauguration Day.
Hutchison stepped down from Congress in 2013 after 20 years in the Senate. Since then, she has been senior counsel at Bracewell, LLP, in Dallas.
Her home-state lawmakers were excited about the Trump pick.
“Throughout her career in public service, Kay’s dedication to helping others and advancing commonsense Texas values has been second to none. With a proven track record of getting results, she has always done what she thought was in the best interest of Texas and our country,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said in a statement.
“I have no doubt she will now bring her tireless advocacy and fierce work ethic to the world stage on behalf of the American people,” he added. “I’m thankful she has once again answered the call to service, and I look forward to supporting my fellow Texan’s nomination before the U.S. Senate.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who filled the seat vacated by Hutchison’s Senate retirement, said she “served the state of Texas honorably for 20 years in the Senate, and I have no doubt she will do a wonderful job representing the United States in Brussels.”
“Sen. Hutchison’s past service on the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Defense and Military Construction appropriations subcommittees gives her an incredible insight into the issues facing Europe, her allies and the importance of NATO to serve in opposition to Russian aggression,” Cruz added.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) declared Trump “could not have made a better choice for NATO Ambassador.”
“Senator Hutchison and I have worked hand in hand for nearly three decades. She served Texas with distinction in the United States Senate, and will no doubt do the same while representing the United States at NATO, Barton said. “Kay recognizes the important role NATO plays as our most important security alliance.”