Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts vows that if she’s elected president, she’ll stop the practice of appointing “big donors to be ambassadors.”
And, in a new TV commercial, the Democratic presidential candidate specifically calls out Gordon Sondland, a big donor to Donald Trump nominated by the president as U.S. ambassador to the European Union.
Warren now says she "objected" to Sondland's nomination – but a review of the record shows the senator did not, in fact, oppose his confirmation on the floor.
The ad, which started running Friday in Iowa, focuses on Sondland, who two months ago became a household name as he was a key witness in the House impeachment inquiry into the president.
“At the center of Donald Trump’s crimes and chaos is the millionaire donor he made an ambassador,” Warren says in the spot over pictures of Sondland.
“Republicans and Democrats have been rewarding big donors with cushy ambassadorships like this for years,” she says. “It’s Washington corruption at its worst.”
“When I’m president that stops. I’m the only candidate running who has made this promise. I’ll never give ambassadorships to unqualified donors just because they wrote me fat checks,” she concludes.
Warren has pledged repeatedly – both on the campaign trail and on the debate stage – to end the practice of giving wealthy donors ambassadorships.
“Donald Trump has made it clear that he has taken a process that has been far too cozy in Washington for far too long and that is just sell the ambassadorships, one after another after another. And that’s why I have called on my fellow Democrats in this primary to say no. No more of this,” Warren said Friday in an interview ahead of a town hall in Dover, N.H.
“We are not going to appoint big donors to be ambassadors. We’re going to appoint people who are actually qualified to be ambassadors, who have some history, some experience in this,” she added.
Asked if she objected to Sondland’s confirmation, Warren said: “When he came through – I think most of these guys came through on consent – I objected to all of them.”
But asked again how she voted, Warren answered, “I would have to go back and look at the individual ones. There have been a lot of ambassadors that have come through.”
Sondland was confirmed by voice vote in June 2018. Warren and the rest of the senators consented to a “voice vote” for Sondland’s confirmation to occur at a session in which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was the only lawmaker in the chamber.
Any member of the Senate could have raised an objection to the nomination – but none did.
Warren also did not object to the confirmation of 11 other Trump ambassador nominations.