President Donald Trump has chosen A.B. Culvahouse to represent the U.S. government in the land Down Under.
The president announced in a statement late Monday night that he is nominating Culvahouse, former White House counsel to President Ronald Reagan and currently of counsel at O’Melveny & Myers, to serve as U.S. ambassador to Australia. Culvahouse was chair of O’Melveny from 2000 to 2012.
Culvahouse, 70, has been a Washington fixture for more than 40 years. During that time, in addition to defending President Reagan during the Iran-Contra investigation, he worked as chief legislative assistant to the late Sen. Howard Baker, R-Tenn., led his law firm through the Great Recession and its aftermath and helped GOP presidential nominees vet their vice presidential personnel.
“If you’re in trouble with the government, then A.B. Culvahouse is your best lawyer available,” Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said in the same profile.
Culvahouse, a Tennessee native, reportedly turned down an earlier overture to help Trump’s legal team respond to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in U.S. politics.
Before the 2016 election, he helped Trump in his selection of Vice President Mike Pence as his running mate. He was first recruited to the president’s campaign by convicted ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, after Culvahouse had supported former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
The U.S. ambassadorship to Australia has been vacant since 2016, following John Berry’s exit from the post. Berry’s predecessor in the position was Jeff Bleich, who served from 2009 to 2013 and is now a partner at Dentons. Berry is now president of the American Australian Association.