NBC News reported Thursday that Donald Trump will appoint New York Jets owner Woody Johnson as the next U.S. ambassador to Britain after the president-elect is sworn in Friday, a move that has been expected for some time.
Trump seemed to confirm the appointment Thursday at a luncheon in Washington, with Johnson in attendance, when he introduced a guest as “sitting next to the ambassador Woody Johnson, going to Saint James” and then added, “congratulations, Woody.”
Johnson, who raised money for Trump’s presidential campaign and was appointed to his inauguration committee, reportedly would relinquish control of the Jets to his younger brother, Christopher, and resign from the NFL ownership committees on which he sits upon his appointment to the Court of St. James’s. According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Johnson has no known connection to Britain.
Johnson, who has owned the Jets since 2000, originally was the national finance chairman for Jeb Bush’s failed presidential campaign, a fact that Trump poked fun at in January 2016.
There is a precedent for this type of move, as Rapoport pointed out. In 2009, President Obama appointed Steelers owner Dan Rooney as U.S. ambassador to Ireland. With team President Art Rooney II already handling many of the team’s ownership duties at the time of his appointment, Dan Rooney relinquished his NFL committee duties but still attended league meetings.