Morgan Stanley’s Nides Is Biden’s Pick for Israel Envoy Post
(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden plans to nominate Thomas Nides, a vice chairman of Morgan Stanley and a former State Department official, to be the U.S. ambassador to Israel, according to two people familiar with the decision.
Nides, 60, has long been one of Wall Street’s most prominent Democratic donors and has straddled positions in the public and private sector for decades. He was a major bundler of contributions for Biden during the 2020 presidential race -- and, before that, for Hillary Clinton’s campaigns.
If officially nominated and confirmed by the Senate, Nides will assume the high-profile role as the U.S. works to restore calm in the region after an 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas that left Gaza in ruins while claiming more than 260 lives, most of them in the Palestinian territory. Nides would also grapple with vehement Israeli opposition to the U.S. effort to return to the 2015 Iran nuclear accord.
The impending nomination comes as pressure on Biden has intensified in recent weeks to name an envoy given pressing diplomatic needs. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a Middle East trip this week. The top U.S. diplomat pledged to help reconstruction efforts in Gaza while reaffirming support for Israel’s right to defend itself.
Also on Nides’ agenda will be figuring out how to implement efforts by the Biden administration to reverse some of former President Donald Trump’s moves against the Palestinians, who were furious over the previous administration’s unstinting embrace of Israel and Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Nides was one of the finance industry’s best known supporters of Minnesota Senator and former Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar before he said he was all-in for Biden in March 2020. Not long afterward, Wall Street’s other prominent Democratic donors were floating Nides as a potential Biden appointee. Nides’s expected nomination was reported earlier by the Associated Press.
The banking executive, unlike some of his peers, has praised Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat who’s called for breaking up the biggest banks. Her work setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was “impressive,” he said in 2019. “You can’t argue with that.”
Nides was Morgan Stanley’s chief operating officer until 2010, when he left to become deputy secretary of state, returning in 2013 as vice chairman.
Earlier in his career, Nides ran the public relations agency Burson-Marsteller, now known as Burson Cohn & Wolfe, and was an executive at Credit Suisse First Boston and Fannie Mae. He also served as an aide to former Representative Tony Coelho of California, who was then majority whip in the House, and House Speaker Tom Foley in the early 1990s.
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