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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

Kochworld comes to Biden's defense on Afghanistan

President Biden gestures as he gives remarks on the worsening crisis in Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House, Aug. 16. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

President Biden is getting some unlikely backing for his Afghanistan troop withdrawal from a longtime nemesis: the Koch political network.

Driving the news: Concerned Veterans for America, a foreign policy-focused arm of Charles Koch's Stand Together political and policy apparatus is coming to Biden's defense after the U.S. withdrawal handed control of the country to the Taliban this week.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Microsoft announced Tuesday it plans to acquire video game giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in cash.

Why it matters: The move comes as Activision Blizzard has faced a wave of accusations of workplace harassment.

2 hours ago - World

Blinken to visit Ukraine as Russia invasion threat looms

Blinken (R) with President Zelensky. Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/Pool via Getty

Secretary of State Antony Tony Blinken will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday as the country faces an ongoing threat of Russian invasion.

Driving the news: Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as officials at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv to discuss contingency planning. He'll then travel to Berlin to meet German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and attend a meeting of the "Transatlantic Quad" — France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S.