Disney chairman Bob Iger; James Costos, an in depth buddy of Barack Obama with ties to Hollywood; and Ted Kaufman, Joe Biden‘s loyal aide, are rising because the entrance runners for the coveted place of U.S. ambassador to London.

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The appointment is essentially the most prestigious within the president – and the Senate‘s – reward: the ambassador lives within the 35-bedroom Winfield Home, in Regent’s Park.

Its 12-acre backyard is second solely to the Queen’s at Buckingham Palace and has room for Marine One to land, whereas inside glittering reception rooms make an invite from the ambassador a prize on London’s social scene.

Not that there’s a scarcity of invites for the ambassador: essentially the most glamorous of all when she or he presents their credentials at Buckingham Palace, driving there in a carriage and carrying a high hat and tails.

Given its advantages, the ambassadorship has been utilized by presidents of each events as the last word reward to supporters for his or her loyalty or their fundraising – ideally each.

Now Biden is going through a three-way contest on the high of the listing of names for the posing. 

Jostling are former ambassador to Madrid James Costos, an brazenly homosexual mega fundraiser in Hollywood who’s shut associates with the Obamas; Iger, the previous Dinsey CEO who has made no secret of his political ambitions; and considered one of Biden’s oldest associates Ted Kaufman, 81, DailyMail.com heard from Biden insiders and officers within the diplomatic world.

Prince Harry speaks with Disney Chairman Bob Iger about a job for his wife Meghan, who is hugging Beyonce, at the July 2019 London premiere of the 'Lion King'

Prince Harry speaks with Disney Chairman Bob Iger a couple of job for his spouse Meghan, who’s hugging Beyonce, on the July 2019 London premiere of the ‘Lion King’

Michelle Obama holds James Costos' book 'El Amigo Americano' while he holds her tome 'Becoming' - the former ambassador to Spain is close to the Obamas

Michelle Obama holds James Costos’ ebook ‘El Amigo Americano’ whereas he holds her tome ‘Changing into’ – the previous ambassador to Spain is near the Obamas

Former Senator Ted Kaufman is one of Biden's most loyal and longest aides, the two are seen walking in the Capitol together when Biden was vice president

Former Senator Ted Kaufman is considered one of Biden’s most loyal and longest aides, the 2 are seen strolling within the Capitol collectively when Biden was vp

The appointment to London is normally one of many first an administration makes, given the particular relationship between the USA and United Kingdom. 


Iger, 69, a longtime Biden supporter, has made it identified he’d like an ambassadorial slot.  

And he is mulled a political profession for a while, together with contemplating making a presidential bid final 12 months. He gave $500,000 to the Biden Victory Fund, in response to Federal Election Fee reviews.

Iger is scheduled to resign from his place as Government Chairman of The Walt Disney Firm on the finish of the 12 months and introduced his retirement shortly earlier than the coronavirus pandemic triggered a worldwide shutdown that  Disney’s theme parks, cruises and resorts, which rely upon human interplay. 

The Walt Disney Firm went from the most important media firm on the planet to battling its future. The corporate misplaced greater than $7 billion and laid off 1000’s of staff.

However Iger, 69, is seeking to his subsequent steps after 45 years at Disney – and a troubled 2020 which noticed him elevated from CEO to chairman just for the pandemic to devastate the corporate backside line.

He is touted his private story in his memoir ‘The Journey of a Lifetime,’ the place he revealed he joined ABC in 1974, the place his first job was performing menial labor on tv units for $150 per week. He made his means up the company ladder, turning into chairman in 2005 the place he oversaw the acquisition of Pixar, Marvel Leisure and Lucasfilm Ltd. 

The New York Occasions’ Maureen Dowd, in a story on his memoir, dubbed him ‘effortlessly elegant’ and a part of a ‘cult of good’ in Hollywood who’s as relaxed hanging with workers as he’s on the cocktail circuit. President Biden is understood to learn the Occasions’ op-ed web page.

Iger has been married to Willow Bay, his second marriage, since 1995. Bay is a former correspondent at NBC, ABC, and CNN. 

And Iger famously had an encounter with royalty – however one which can not play totally to his benefit with the Queen. 

On the Lion King premiere in London in July 2019, Prince Harry collared him and expressed his spouse Meghan’s ‘curiosity’ in doing voiceover work for Disney.

In the course of the dialog, caught on digital camera by a fan, the Duke of Sussex gestured to Meghan, who’s chatting with Beyonce, and mentioned to Iger: ‘You do know she does voiceovers?’

Iger may be heard replying: ‘Ah, I didn’t know that.’ Harry then responds: ‘You appear stunned. She’s actually .’ The Disney chief then says: ‘We might like to attempt. That is an important thought.’    

The Duchess of Sussex later signed a voiceover take care of the Walt Disney Firm in trade for a donation to Elephants With out Borders, a wildlife charity that helps to trace and shield the animals from poachers.

That was earlier than the 2 give up their royal duties and decamped to California, abandoning a royal household in disaster and a rift together with his brother Prince William.

Prince Harry’s asking for his spouse turned out to be a harbinger of their Netflix deal – so elevating the subject with the Queen won’t be the perfect begin to his diplomatic profession.

Bob Iger, 69,, is looking to his next steps after 45 years at Disney; he is resigning from the company at the end of the year

Bob Iger, 69,, is seeking to his subsequent steps after 45 years at Disney; he’s resigning from the corporate on the finish of the 12 months

Willow Bay, Bob Iger and actress Jennifer Garner at the Save The Children's "Centennial Celebration: Once In A Lifetime" gala in 2019

Willow Bay, Bob Iger and actress Jennifer Garner on the Save The Kids’s ‘Centennial Celebration: As soon as In A Lifetime’ gala in 2019

Bob Iger, to Mickey's left, is also in the mix for Ambassador to China although he's been criticized of placating leaders there in order to help Disney gain a foothold

Bob Iger, to Mickey’s left, can be within the combine for Ambassador to China though he is been criticized of placating leaders there as a way to assist Disney achieve a foothold 

London is within the combine for him however so is Beijing. It is the China posting that may trigger complications for the Biden administration. 

Lawmakers from either side of the aisle have criticized Disney’s efforts there. Iger, in an effort to get Disney in China’s door, apologized for a movie that was sympathetic to the Dalia Lama as critics cost he placates the Chinese language authorities for his firm’s backside line. He is made quite a few journeys to China to courtroom officers and has a long-running relationship with China’s President Xi Jinping. Disney was criticized for filming ‘Mulan’ in Xinjiang province, the place the Chinese language authorities is accused of human rights abuses with the principally Muslim Uighurs, who’re being detained in camps.

Iger’s work paid off – there’s a Disney theme park in Shanghai (that shut down throughout COVID) and the corporate has made billions of {dollars} in box-office receipts earlier than the pandemic hit. 


Costos, whose associate is Hollywood decorator Michael S. Smith, was a significant fundraiser for Biden and has deep ties to Barack and Michelle Obama. He donated $50,000 to the Biden Victory Fund this 12 months and $35,000 to the Democratic Nationwide Committee, in response to FEC reviews.

Costos, 58, was an government at HBO when Obama named him ambassador to Spain in June 2013 and one supply within the diplomatic world instructed DailyMail.com he excelled on the place. 

His Instagram exhibits his curated, shiny life – photographs of him and Smith spending time with Michelle Obama, hanging out with ‘Recreation of Throne’ creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss when the hit HBO present filmed in Spain, visiting President Obama within the Oval Workplace, and laughing with Gwyneth Paltrow. 

He and Smith redecorated the ambassador’s residence in Madrid at appreciable private value – bringing in gadgets starting from a John Singer Sargent portray to 12-panel Coromandel display as soon as owned by Coco Chanel – after which donated a lot of what they paid for to the house for future ambassadors to take pleasure in. 

Smith additionally embellished the Oval Workplace and the non-public household quarters within the White Home residence for Obama when he was president. 

James Costos, while still ambassador in Spain, in October 2018 with his book 'El Amigo Americano'

James Costos, whereas nonetheless ambassador in Spain, in October 2018 together with his ebook ‘El Amigo Americano’

James Costos and Michael S. Smith with Joe Biden, Costos is a major fundraiser for Democrats

James Costos and Michael S. Smith with Joe Biden, Costos is a significant fundraiser for Democrats

James Costos and Michael S. Smith meeting King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain

James Costos and Michael S. Smith assembly King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain

James Costos and Michael S. Smith with President Obama in the Oval Office, which Smith decorated along with the private family quarters in the White House

James Costos and Michael S. Smith with President Obama within the Oval Workplace, which Smith embellished together with the non-public household quarters within the White Home

Then Ambassador Costos welcomes then first lady  Michelle Obama to Spain in June 2016

Then Ambassador Costos welcomes then first woman  Michelle Obama to Spain in June 2016

In Spain, Costos and Smith have been identified for his or her see-and-be-seen events: a ball for the Marine Corps, a Fourth of July celebration, and intimate dinners that served American delicacies like salmon from Alaska.

Obama was the primary U.S. president to go to Spain in additional than 15 years, which occurred throughout Costos’ tenure. Costos additionally hosted then deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken for an occasion with Google in Madrid in July 2015, a part of his work to deliver tech firms to Spain. He held an entrepreneurial summit that paired King Felipe VI with Google chief Eric Schmidt.

After leaving the White Home in January 2017, the Obamas went to Palm Springs, the place they have been company within the Costos-Smith house for a number of days.


Kaufman, who changed Biden in his Senate seat and led the presidential transition effort, is likely one of the president’s oldest associates and allies. Nominating him to the place can be the last word reward for loyalty.

He has robust ties to the UK. His daughter Meg and son-in-law Tom Hartley stay in Hammersmith, west London, alongside together with his three grandchildren. 

Meg Kaufman is Undertaking Supervisor for the Centre for Cities, an financial suppose tank. 

However, at 81, Kaufman is older than the president. 

Ted Kaufman's daughter Meg works at a think tank in London; his daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren all live in London

Ted Kaufman’s daughter Meg works at a suppose tank in London; his daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren all stay in London

Kaufman has been with Biden for the reason that begin of his political profession. He joined the 1972 Senate marketing campaign, when Biden was the lengthy shot candidate however ended up with the victory. He joined his Senate workplace, ultimately turning into chief of workers. He and Biden usually commuted on the prepare collectively, driving the rails between Washington D.C. and Wilmington. In 1988, when Biden underwent surgical procedure for 2 mind aneurysms that quickly sidelined him from the Senate, Kaufman stored the workplace operating.

Born in Philadelphia, Kaufman attended Duke College. A job with DuPont Firm introduced him to Wilmington, Delaware.  He received concerned with native Democratic politics, the place he met then-county council member Joe Biden in 1970. He’s married to Lynne Kaufman and so they have three youngsters.

After Biden turned vp, Kaufman was appointed to carry the Senate seat till Delaware may maintain a particular election.

He solely sat within the Senate two years, however he used his time to advocate for federal workers – as he was a former one – and labored on the Shopper Safety Act.

Biden apparently believed it was unhealthy luck to consider the presidential transition earlier than he gained the election, which was why he entrusted it to his longtime aide Kaufman, who labored behind the scenes to be prepared for a Biden victory.

The 2 males have been described as primarily twins, mentioned to be the identical in values and outlook, which cements their bond. 


Different names have been talked about as Biden officers make their listing of who may very well be appointed the place  – like a recreation of worldwide chess.

Cindy McCain was talked about after she endorsed Biden and campaigned for him in Arizona. Her blessing helped him win the state, the primary Democratic presidential candidate to take action since 1996. 

Former New York Metropolis Mayor Mike Bloomberg additionally reportedly has expressed curiosity within the London job. 

He already has a glittering house within the metropolis, on Chelsea’s prestigious Cheney Stroll – the $25 million home was as soon as Victorian novelist George Eliot’s – and an honorary knighthood.

Bloomberg’s ex-wife is British and his youngsters Georgina and Emma each maintain British passports, whereas his firm has a big presence in London’s monetary district.

And stress is on to have the brand new ambassador in place this summer time, forward of the G7, the assembly of the leaders of seven strongest nations on the planet. The UK is internet hosting the summit in Cornwall, the southwest a part of the nation, this summer time from June 11 by 13. 

Plans are transferring ahead to carry it in individual though that would change relying on the coronavirus pandemic. Prime Minister Boris Johnson personally requested Biden to make the journey over when the 2 leaders spoke on the cellphone in late January. 

It might be a tour de drive for the brand new ambassador to be at Biden’s aspect in the course of the occasion, which incorporates high-profile sit downs with world leaders and a reception at Buckingham Palace with the Queen. 

‘From the administration’s perspective it could be good to have the brand new ambassador in place for that occasion,’ Lew Lukens, former US Deputy Chief of Mission in London, at the moment Senior Companion with Signum International Advisors, instructed DailyMail.com. ‘And what an important form of debut for the brand new ambassador.’

Biden has but to call a single ambassador to a rustic – he named Linda Thomas Greenfield as UN Ambassador, which is a distinct sort of posting totally.

It is unclear when he’ll title his first tranche of picks – which might seemingly embody ambassadors to London, Paris, Beijing, the EU, and Israel.

President Donald Trump named Woody Johnson as his selection for ambassador to the Courtroom of St. James at his inauguration lunch on January twentieth. President Barack Obama named his first spherical of ambassadors – to London, Paris, New Deli and Beijing – in Might 2009, about 5 months after his inauguration.

The present coronavirus lockdown in the UK should not have an effect on the timing or a brand new ambassador approaching board. The ambassador can be a resident of London and would have the ability to quarantine upon arrival, assembly British necessities. Moreover, the Senate affirmation course of can take months, that means the lockdown could finish earlier than an envoy is able to take cost.

Ted Kaufman served in the Senate for two years after Biden was elected vice president and until Delaware could have a special election

Ted Kaufman served within the Senate for 2 years after Biden was elected vp and till Delaware may have a particular election

Then-Senator Joe Biden with his staffers Ted Kaufman (center) and Wes Barthelmes in 1974

Then-Senator Joe Biden together with his staffers Ted Kaufman (heart) and Wes Barthelmes in 1974

The U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James lives at the 35-bedroom Winfield House, which sits on 12 acres in Regent's Park

The U.S. Ambassador to the Courtroom of St. James lives on the 35-bedroom Winfield Home, which sits on 12 acres in Regent’s Park

Winfield House decked out for a dinner with Prince Charles during Trump's state visit to the UK

Winfield Home decked out for a dinner with Prince Charles throughout Trump’s state go to to the UK

Then-First Lady Melania Trump, right, with Suzanne Ircha, wife of the then-American Ambassador to the United Kingdom, at Winfield House during the Trumps' July 2018 visit

Then-First Girl Melania Trump, proper, with Suzanne Ircha, spouse of the then-American Ambassador to the UK, at Winfield Home in the course of the Trumps’ July 2018 go to

The ambassador is presented to Queen Elizabeth II, as President Trump's ambassador Woody Johnson was in November 2017

The ambassador is introduced to Queen Elizabeth II, as President Trump’s ambassador Woody Johnson was in November 2017

Marine One landing at Winfield House during President Trump's June 2019 state visit

Marine One touchdown at Winfield Home throughout President Trump’s June 2019 state go to

The method of turning into an envoy is time consuming and arduous. Johnson could have been named – albeit informally – on January 20 however he wasn’t confirmed by the Senate till August 3. 

And earlier than Senate affirmation, a nominee has to undergo a prolonged background examine and fill out quite a few disclosure types, together with a monetary vetting that checks tax information and investments. Johnson had 119 pages of disclosure types for his Senate affirmation listening to.

Moreover, earlier than a president names an envoy, the title is given to officers in that nation as a part of an agrément – a head’s up on who’s being thought-about, giving the nation an opportunity to veto the selection earlier than the individual is formally introduced.

Given Democratic management of the Senate and pleasant relations between the U.S. and the U.Okay. an envoy may, theoretically, be in place by the G7. However time is of the essence.  

Costos and Kaufman will seemingly have a better time with the paperwork and background examine given their earlier authorities service.

Iger may discover it extra time consuming given his in depth enterprise document.  

It is unclear what number of ambassadorships Biden will give to political patronage and what number of will go to profession officers. The president has vowed to spice up morale on the State Division, which took a heavy beating beneath President Trump.

In remarks there on Thursday, Biden instructed profession workers: ‘I would like the individuals who work on this constructing and our embassies and consulates all over the world to know: I worth your experience and I respect you, and I’ll have your again. This administration goes to empower you to do your jobs, not goal or politicize you. We wish a rigorous debate that brings all views and makes room for dissent. That is how we’ll get the very best coverage outcomes.’

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