Jimmy Kimmel to Replace Gary Locke as U.S. Ambassador to China
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. President Barack Obama announced Friday that, after careful deliberation, he has decided to nominate comedian Jimmy Kimmel to replace the outgoing Gary Locke as U.S. Ambassador to China.
Speaking to reporters in the White House Rose Garden, Obama praised Kimmel’s “nuanced understanding of China-related issues,” and his “ironic and edgy sense of humor, which will prove popular with the Chinese.”
“Why just last month, huge crowds amassed outside the Chinese Embassy here in Washington chanting, ‘Kimmel, Go! Kimmel, Go!'” the president said. “Well, I’m delighted to announce that Jimmy Kimmel is going—straight to Beijing!”
Washington pundits are calling the nomination a shrewd and calculated move.
“After the setback with Obamacare, the administration needs a big win,” said Blake Wilson, a researcher with the Council on Foreign Relations. “In terms of name recognition, this is a home run.”
“There is no American more wanted right now than Jimmy Kimmel,” he added.
Wilson said that initially he doubted whether Kimmel, who has no previous foreign service experience, could navigate the shoals of U.S.-China diplomacy, but was convinced after the comedian’s name appeared on several White House petitions.
“There were a litany of comments like, ‘We’re going to get you, Kimmel!’ and ‘Get out of America!'” said Wilson. “In the end, you have to give people what they want.”
In the press conference, Obama praised Mr. Locke’s “everyman style and sober handling of potential crises,” but noted that it was time for a change.
“The U.S. is known for out-of-the-box thinking, and putting Jimmy Kimmel in charge of the world’s most important bilateral relationship is as out-of-the-box as it gets.”
“Mr. Kimmel and his cabinet of child advisors have shown,” the president continued, “profound insight into the complexities of dealing with Beijing.”
Indeed, the response from Beijing has been overwhelmingly positive. Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hong Lei said that the Chinese “couldn’t wait to get their hands on Kimmel,” adding that once they did, they would “never let him go.”
At press time, Mr. Kimmel and his advisors were meeting with a House select committee to investigate the medium- and long-term potential of his “kill everyone in China” strategy.