John James, the 2018 U.S. Senate candidate for the state of Michigan, is being considered by President Donald Trump to replace Nikki Haley, ambassador to the United Nations, according to recent reports.
James, a Republican who served as president of James Group International, a firm based in Detroit, lost the November midterm election for one of Michigan’s U.S. Senate seats to incumbent Democrat Sen. Debbie Stabenow. James ran as a “conservative outsider who supports the Trump agenda,” making issues like border security and governmental deregulation central to his platform. While James was ahead of Stabenow for much of the evening, once votes were counted from metropolitan Detroit, Stabenow defeated James with 52.2 percent of the state’s votes, compared to James’s 45.8 percent. This was Stabenow’s weakest showing in the polls since her election in 2000, when she first took office in the Senate.
During the election season, many state and national Republicans promoted James as a rising star in the party. Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence headlined rallies for James. Trump endorsed James during the Republican primary cycle and invited James to the White House in September.
According to Bloomberg, James visited the White House last week to talk “about an administration post with Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence,” adding he is being considered to take the position of U.N. ambassador.
Current ambassador Haley served as governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017 and was appointed to be U.N. ambassador following Trump’s election in 2016. It was announced in early October that Haley will resign at the end of the year. According to the Bloomberg report, Trump is also considering the U.S. ambassadors to France, Germany and Canada to take over the position.
LSA sophomore Dylan Berger, president of the University of Michigan’s chapter of College Republicans, stated he supports any possibility of James serving as U.N. ambassador.
“I’m ecstatic because John James is one of the most incredible public servants that we have in our nation at this point … In the beginning (of the Senate race) they gave him zero shot whatsoever against Debbie Stabenow and he ended up getting 46 percent of the vote and that’s because of who he is,” Berger said. “I can’t think of anyone that would represent our nation better at the United Nations than John James would and I enthusiastically support his nomination to the United Nations. I hope that the president makes that decision.”
Public Policy junior Katie Kelly, who serves as communications director of the University’s chapter of College Democrats, expressed concern over James’s qualifications to serve in a position within foreign relations.
“John James does not hold the proper experience required to be an effective UN Ambassador,” Kelly wrote in an email interview. “With no prior experience with international politics or as an ambassador, James is clearly unqualified to handle the intricacies of foreign relations. We need qualified people representing our country on the international level. We hope the Trump administration will think carefully about who they put into this position and that they are qualified to speak on behalf of the United States.”