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Biden selects senior Comcast adviser as top U.S. diplomat in Canada

In this May 8, 2014 file photo David Cohen, Executive Vice President, Comcast Corporation testifies during the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial, and Antitrust Law oversight hearing on the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

President Joe Biden on Wednesday selected friends and campaign donors for a set of ambassador slots, including nominating a Comcast Corp adviser as the top U.S. diplomat in Canada.

Biden picked David Cohen, a senior adviser to Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts and a key lobbyist for the media giant, to represent the United States in Ottawa.

The two allies and key trading partners have occasionally been at odds since Biden took office in January, including over when to reopen normal travel across their shared border amid the COVID-19 pandemic and his decision to block the Keystone XL pipeline, which was planned to carry Canadian oil to U.S. markets.

Read more: What Biden’s cabinet picks tell us about how he plans to govern U.S.

Biden also chose Victoria Kennedy, a longtime friend, gun control activist and the widow of late Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, for the top U.S. ambassadorial post in Austria.

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Cohen and Kennedy were top fundraisers for the Democratic president’s campaign against Republican former President Donald Trump. Biden also chose Jamie Harpootlian, the wife of another major campaign contributor and supporter, as his ambassador to Slovenia.

U.S. ambassador nominations, which require Senate confirmation, are highly sought after by political allies and campaign donors.

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