Trump nominates new ambassador to Ukraine

President Trump has nominated former Army Lt. Gen. Keith W. Dayton to replace acting Amb. Joseph Pennington as ambassador to Ukraine, the Washington Times reported on Thursday.

The Ukrainian embassy has experienced a revolving door of interim leaders since President Trump recalled then-Amb. Marie Yovanovitch in April 2019.

Ukraine drama

Yovanovitch was unceremoniously recalled from her position as ambassador to Ukraine in April of 2019 after she was accused of being disloyal to Trump and undermining the newly installed Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

Long-time diplomat Bill Taylor stepped into her position in an acting capacity in May 2019, but resigned from the post in January of 2020.

Pennington stepped into the once-again vacant position after Taylor’s departure, just as the Democrat-led impeachment push began transitioning to the Senate.

Yovanovitch found herself at the center of the impeachment controversy when she was called to testify before the House about her ouster and the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine.

The Senate acquitted Trump of the impeachment charges brought by House Democrats in late February, and the coronavirus crisis soon took over the national conversation.

Moving on

The Hill first reported that Trump was intending to nominate an official replacement for the vacant position in early May.

Trump has reportedly been eyeing Dayton for the role since at least December when Taylor first announced his intention to move on from his interim role at the Ukrainian embassy.

Breitbart reported in December that “officials said the White House is likely to nominate retired Army Gen. Keith Dayton to be the next ambassador to Ukraine.”

Dayton served in the U.S. Army for 40 years. According to the Hill, Dayton spent time as security coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and the director of strategy, plans and policy at the Pentagon.

Dayton currently serves as the director of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Germany but has a long history of holding diplomatic positions.

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