by Nicole Gouet and Jeff Zeleny | CNN
President Joe Biden is set to nominate Caroline Kennedy to serve as ambassador to Australia, three people familiar with the search process told CNN, in one of the highest-profile envoy selections yet by the White House.
Kennedy, the daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, served as ambassador to Japan during the Obama administration. He is a longtime friend, ally and donor to Biden who backed the presidential candidacy at the start of the campaign and spoke at the Democratic convention last summer.
A White House spokesman declined to comment, saying more ambassadors would be announced when the review process and notification to host countries is complete.
In a reflection of Biden’s close ties to the Kennedy political dynasty, Caroline is the second member of the Kennedy family he has nominated to fill a diplomatic position. The president has appointed Victoria, the widow of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, as his envoy to Austria.
Biden has spoken about the important role played by family in his own political career, touching on the inspiration he saw as a young man from an Irish Catholic American, John F. Kennedy, winning the White House. And in 2009, while praising Ted Kennedy, Biden talked about the late senator’s debt—both for helping him get elected and making it to the Senate.
Shortly after his election to the Senate in 1972, a car accident claimed the lives of Biden’s wife and daughter and seriously injured their two young sons. At a memorial to Ted Kennedy in 2015, Biden told the family that without Ted Kennedy’s support, he would have given up his political career.
“It is certain that I would never have been sworn in as a United States Senator, if not for the encouragement of your father, your father,” Biden recalled, adding that he would not have been sworn in. Came and didn’t want to.
“I didn’t show up on the day I was supposed to be sworn in. It was your father, your father, who, along with Mike Mansfield, sent the secretary of the Senate to a hospital in Wilmington, Delaware, to administer the oath to me. Boys,” Biden said. He recalled that once in Congress, Kennedy “treated me like a younger brother.”