Amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and Europe over trade and foreign policy, the Trump administration is moving to fill the long-vacant post of U.S. ambassador to the European Union.

Washington has asked the EU if Portland hotelier Gordon Sondland would be an acceptable nominee, according to two senior European officials. If nominated and approved by the Senate, a process that can take months, he would fill a job that has been vacant since January 2017.

Sondland is a Seattle native and an early supporter of Trump’s rise to the White House. He donated $1m to Trump’s inaugural committee. It is common for U.S. presidents to reward some donors and political allies with ambassadorships.
The EU job has been vacant since Anthony L. Gardener resigned in January 2017.

Trump has so far appointed 47 people to ambassador posts. At least 28 are political appointments, rather than vacancies filled by career diplomats.