The U.S. ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, is apparently being replaced. Initial word on the move came in overnight tweets from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who offered lavish praise.
But there was no immediate word on whether a change was actually being made or why. There also was no mention of who President Trump would nominate to replace Branstad, 73, or what Branstad’s next step would be. He’s a former two-term Iowa governor.
All that was certain is that the move would come at a time of rising tensions between the two superpowers on any number of fronts and with Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign in high gear. The president has been blaming Beijing for the coronvirus pandemic, dubbing COVID-19 “the China virus.”
Then-Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad speaks with members of the media at Trump Tower following meetings in New York City, in this Dec. 6, 2016 file photo. President Trump tapped Branstad as U.S. Ambassador to China. Getty
Branstad was involved in a recent flap when China’s official People’s Daily newspaper rejected a column he’d written but there was no indication of whether the controversy had anything to do with his departure.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while notings