Skip to main content

Sarah Palin.The Associated Press

The White House has assured Canada that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will not be appointed as U.S. ambassador to Canada.

A Trudeau government official says that assurance was provided to Canadian officials during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's visit to the White House on Monday.

"It isn't Sarah Palin," the official said.

American officials have not yet made a decision on an ambassador but were leaning to appointing someone who raised money for the Trump campaign.

Read more: What you missed from Trudeau's first meeting with Trump

Margaret Wente: Trudeau's snooze-worthy meeting with Trump a triumph

Sarah Kendzior: When Trudeau met Trump: Canadian exceptionalism, American envy

Ms. Palin served as Alaskan governor for less than three years between 2006 and 2009. She came to national attention when 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain chose her as his running mate.

Since then, she has often been better known for her outsize personality and bizarre public pronouncements than for her politics.

In 2008, Ms. Palin told  ABC News, "You can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska."

And when she endorsed Mr. Trump for the presidency last year, she delivered a disjointed, often rhyming speech that verged on slam poetry.

But she maintained a base among conservatives, who have seen her as an exuberant populist, allowing her to earn a living on the speaking circuit.

It's often a tradition for American presidents to name envoys as a political reward. The last two ambassadors to Canada, David Jacobson and Bruce Heyman, had raised millions of dollars for Barack Obama.

Canadian officials have encouraged the Americans to name an ambassador who has real clout and sway with President Trump.

"We want someone who the White House will pick up the phone when he calls," the official said.

The Canadians pointed to Ambassador David McNaughton, who has open access to Mr. Trudeau.

While Mr. McNaughton was co-chair of the Liberal election campaign, he was not a fundraiser and his appointment was not a political reward.

The official did not think that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is in the running for ambassador to Canada. His name has been speculated as a possible envoy.