President Biden’s Pick for Vatican Ambassador: Former Sen. Joe Donnelly

The White House announced the nominee on Friday.

Joe Donnelly is seen in his official portrait, from 2013.
Joe Donnelly is seen in his official portrait, from 2013. (photo: United States Senate Historical Office / U.S. Senate Historical Office)

Former U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana is President Joe Biden’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, the White House announced on Friday.

Donnelly is a Catholic and a former professor at the University of Notre Dame, where he received his undergraduate degree and his law degree. He served in the U.S. Senate from 2013 to 2019, leaving office after he lost the 2018 election to Republican challenger Mike Braun. He represented Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District from 2007 to 2013, during which time he voted against funding embryonic stem-cell research and was a strong foe of abortion funding in the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

In the Senate he reversed his position against federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions.

Donnelly is currently a partner at Akin Gump law firm in Washington, D.C. He is chairman of the board at the New York-based Soufan Center, a nonprofit think tank whose work on global security and foreign policy focuses on counterterrorism, violent extremism and armed conflict.

He is an adviser to multiple corporations. The White House noted that his honors include the U.S. Navy Distinguished Service Medal.