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Rufus Gifford (right) and spouse Stephen Devincent in 2017. Photo: Ole Jensen - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

President Joe Biden will announce Friday that he's nominating Rufus Gifford, former ambassador to Denmark, as his chief of protocol at the State Department, Politico first reported and Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The position, which holds an ambassadorial rank, will mark Biden’s first ambassador announcement outside of the career foreign service, with more names expected as early as next week.

  • The chief of protocol helps to plan the president’s travel abroad and coordinates visits of foreign leaders to the United States to showcase American traditions, cultures and institutions.
  • Gifford, 46, whose expected appointment was reported by Axios in January, was a deputy campaign manager for Biden. He achieved celebrity status in Denmark, where he married his husband, Stephen DeVincent, in Copenhagen's city hall.

What's next: Biden will name Kathleen Miller as his nominee for Pentagon comptroller, a person familiar with the matter tells Axios.

The big picture: Donors and political allies have been waiting for Biden to start making ambassadorial announcements for months, with some frustration building among donors.

  • Many of them have been angling for prized positions in European capitals, which come with a resplendent residence, a busy social calendar — and, in the case of Rome, a wine cellar in the city’s catacombs.
  • Biden plans to pluck roughly 30% of his ambassadors from outside the career foreign service, and he'll draw heavily on political allies, as opposed to pure big-dollar donors.
  • Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is in line for Japan, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti will be nominated for India, and Tom Nides, a Democratic expert and former deputy secretary of state, is heading to Israel.
  • Nick Burns, a career foreign services officer, who served both Republican and Democratic presidents as an ambassador, is expected to be named for China.

Go deeper

May 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden eyes Claire McCaskill for plum Europe ambassadorship

Claire McCaskill campaigning for Senate in 2018. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former Sen. Claire McCaskill is under consideration for a plum ambassadorship in western Europe — another sign President Biden will tap party allies over big dollar donors when he starts to name his political ambassadors as soon as next week.

Why it matters: Biden will have political antennae across the globe.

DOJ declines to defend Mo Brooks in Capitol riot lawsuit

Rep. Mo Brooks during a June news conference on Capitol Hill. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The Department of Justice declined late Tuesday to represent Rep. Mo Brooks in a civil lawsuit against the Georgia congressman concerning the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Brooks had argued he should have immunity in the suit, filed by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) against him, former President Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr. and lawyer Rudy Giuliani over the insurrection. He said he was acting as a government employee when he spoke at a rally before the insurrection.

Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

Katie Ledecky wins gold in first women's 1500m freestyle

Team USA's Katie Ledecky celebrates after winning the final of the women's 1,500m freestyle swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on Wednesday. Photo: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty Images)

Katie Ledecky took home the Olympic gold medal in the women's 1,500-meter freestyle swimming race Tuesday evening, becoming the first female swimmer to win the newly added division. Team USA's Erica Sullivan won silver.

Of note: The Tokyo Games mark the first time that the long-distance race has been open to women, and Ledecky paid tribute to her predecessors after the race. "I just think of all the great U.S. swimmers who didn’t have a chance to swim that event," she said on NBC.