By Hunter Woodall
The U.S. Senate confirmed Duluth native Thomas Nides as U.S. ambassador to Israel this week, putting a well-known figure from Minnesota in a prominent position at a critical time for the Biden administration.
The confirmation of Nides, who was announced as Democratic President Joe Biden's pick in June, was quickly applauded by Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
"He is committed to fostering enduring peace and stability in the region, and I am confident that Tom will further the deep alliance between our two nations," Klobuchar said in a statement. "Since our days in college interning together for then Vice President Mondale, he has served ably in many leadership positions, including at the State Department. During his time with the Obama administration, Tom distinguished himself as a key voice on Israel and an advocate for humanitarian support for U.S. allies. I know he will make all Minnesotans proud and serve our country with distinction."
Nides' career includes working as deputy secretary of state for management and resources at the U.S. State Department during the Obama administration, according to the White House. He also later worked as managing director and vice chairman at Morgan Stanley.
Nides' nomination was among dozens of State Department positions that GOP senators were blocking from a swift confirmation through holds. Without the holds, nominees can be confirmed through a voice vote, a process taking only minutes that can be used so long as no senator objects. Democrats renewed their effort to bring his nomination up for a vote Wednesday night, one day after a similar effort failed. His confirmation then passed in a voice vote.
Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, who had objected on behalf of his GOP colleagues to Tuesday's failed attempt to confirm Nides, said on Thursday he didn't have a hold on Nides and supported his confirmation. Hawley added that he doesn't have any objection to Nides and said after the confirmation that "it probably speaks to the importance, I would think, of our relationship with the state of Israel and the precarious security situation in which they find themselves."
Minnesota Democratic Sen. Tina Smith said that "Ambassador Nides brings proven leadership, diplomatic experience, and a can do Minnesota approach to the job."
"These skills will be crucial as we work to strengthen the prospects for peace and prosperity in the region," Smith said in a statement. "And there was no reason to hold up such a well-qualified candidate. With Ambassador Nides confirmed, I know that the U.S.-Israel relationship is in safe hands and I look forward to working with him going forward."