The United States Senate has confirmed Colleen Bell as the next American ambassador to Hungary. Her confirmation had been delayed after Republicans, led by Sen. John McCain, raised objections over her qualifications to represent the U.S. in Hungary.
Even at the confirmation debate, Senator McCain, who said he was
not against political appointees, questioned the political and other skills of
Bell for her appointment “to a nation which is very important to our national
He also made disparaging remarks to the Hungarian Prime
Minister and to his governing the country, prompting criticism from the
Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade that summoned U.S. Chargé
d’Affairs André Goodfriend to welcome Ms. Bell’s appointment while rejecting
the senator’s remarks.
analysts point out that the practice of filling ambassadorships with political
appointees is not new, particularly in countries that are not world hotspots.
Democratic and Republican presidents have long filled their ranks with friends
and campaign fundraisers. Colleen Bell helped raise over USD 2 million for Barack
Obama’s re-election campaign. The lack of a foreign policy background has not
necessarily capsized an individual’s bid for an ambassadorship, as ambassadors
are assisted by career diplomats.
Bell is a television producer and philanthropist and she is an advocate
for the environment, arts and social causes. She is best known for being the
producer of the television soap opera series ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’, the
world’s most watched soap opera.
She is on the President’s Advisory Committee on the
Arts and she holds positions on the board of several environmental, art and
charity organizations. She is married with four children.
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