Former Iowa Governor and Lake Mills area native Terry Branstad is leaving his diplomatic post. President Donald Trump spoke by phone with U.S. Senator Joni Ernst Saturday on another topic. As Ernst held the phone out so volunteers at G-O-P campaign headquarters could hear Trump, the president concluded by mentioning Branstad, who has been Ambassador to China, as well as the former governor’s son, Eric, who is a senior advisor to Trump’s reelection campaign in Iowa.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted overnight, shortly before midnight Iowa time, thanking Branstad for his service in China. During a campaign rally in Sioux City just before the 2016 election, Trump said Branstad would make a good ambassador.
This is how Branstad recalled the moment six months later.
That was Branstad in 2017, as he was still governor. Branstad described the meeting he and his wife, Chris, had in President-elect Trump’s office in New York.
Trump held a rally in Des Moines in December of 2016, shortly after announcing he’d appoint Branstad as ambassador to China.
Branstad hinted at his pending job during his final “Condition of the State” speech in January of 2017.
In May of 2017 Branstad resigned as governor after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate as an ambassador. Pompeo, on Twitter, said Branstad had contributed to rebalancing U.S.-China relations so that it is results-oriented, reciprocal and fair. Pompeo and Branstad visited Des Moines in March of last year. Branstad told reporters then he could not talk about US. politics as a U.S. Ambassador. Branstad, who is 73, is a native of Lake Mills, Iowa. His wife, daughter and his daughter’s family accompanied him to China in 2017, but Governor Kim Reynolds told reporters earlier this year that Branstad’s family returned to Iowa due to the coronavirus.