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Home News Biden names Scott Miller as US ambassador to Switzerland

Biden names Scott Miller as US ambassador to Switzerland

Published on 07/08/2021

US President Joe Biden has nominated LGBTQ rights activist and philanthropist Scott Miller to serve as his administration’s envoy to Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Miller, a former account vice president at UBS Wealth Management in Denver, and his husband, Tim Gill, the founder of page layout software Quark, are prominent philanthropists and have donated at least $3.6 million (CHF3.3 million) to Democratic candidates and causes since 2010.

That includes $365,000 given to Biden’s general election fundraising effort, according to federal fundraising disclosures. Though they donated at least $1.1 million to support Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid, they also gave $50,000 that election to a group called “Draft Biden”, which sought to get Biden to run in that year’s primary, the records show.

Miller, 41, and Gill, 67, married in Boston in 2009 and, according to the Gill Foundation, are the largest contributors to LGBTQ equality in history.

Miller earned a Bachelor of Science with honours in business administration from the University of Colorado Boulder. He started his career as a management consultant for Accenture, followed by a period as an event planner for global clientele.

It is not yet known when he will take up his post in Bern. First he has to appear before the US Senate for a hearing, before presenting his credentials to the Swiss government. The US embassy post for Switzerland and Liechtenstein has been vacant since January.

Miller replaces Edward McMullen, an early supporter of Donald Trump who helped steer Trump’s victory in the Republican primary in South Carolina.

Political appointees

Presidents often dispense prime ambassadorships as rewards to political allies and top donors. Those appointments often come with an expectation that the appointees can foot the bill for entertaining on behalf of the United States in pricey, high-profile capitals.

About 44% of Trump’s ambassadorial appointments were political appointees, compared with 31% for Barack Obama and 32% for George W. Bush, according to the American Foreign Service Association. Biden hopes to keep political appointments to about 30% of ambassador picks, according to an administration official who spoke to the AP news agency on the condition of anonymity to talk about internal discussions.

Most political appointees from the donor class, a small population that’s made up of predominantly white men, have historically had little impact on foreign policy.

AP/Keystone-SDA/ts