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Thomas Nides

(1961 - )

Thomas Nides was born on January 1, 1961, in Duluth, Minnesota. He is the youngest of eight children. His father was president of the local Reform congregation, and his mother taught Hebrew. He attended Duluth East High School and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a major in political science.

During Nides’s freshman year of college, he worked as an intern for Walter Mondale, where he shared an office with future Senator Amy Klobuchar. After graduating, he worked on Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign as the Midwest field director.

From 1986 to 1989, Nides worked for the majority whip of the United States House of Representatives, Tony Coelho. After Coelho’s resignation, Nides worked in the office of Speaker Tom Foley from 1989 to 1993.

In 1994, during the Clinton Administration, he served as chief of staff for United States Trade Representative Mickey Kantor and played a role in the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

In 1994, Nides joined the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) as senior vice president. He left in 1996 to work at Morgan Stanley but returned to Fannie Mae the following year as Vice President of Human Resources.

He served as former senator Joe Lieberman’s campaign manager when he ran for vice president in 2000.

From 2001 to 2004, he was the Chief Administrative Officer of Credit Suisse First Boston and later served for one year as Worldwide President and Chief Executive Officer of Burson-Marsteller. He served as Morgan Stanley’s Chief Operating Officer 2005 to 2010 before being nominated by President Barack Obama as Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources.

While serving in the Obama administration, he was involved in winning congressional approval for a three-year extension of loan guarantees to Israel worth $3.8 billion. He also argued against congressional consideration of limiting support for UNWRA and UNESCO. For his service in the position, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton awarded Nides the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award in January 2013, the nation’s highest diplomatic honor.

He left State in 2013 to rejoin Morgan Stanley as managing director, and vice chairman.

In June 2021, President Joe Biden nominated Nides to be U.S. Ambassador to Israel. He was confirmed by the Senate on November 3, 2021. Mr. Nides presented his credentials to Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who accepted them, on December 5, 2021.

According to Ben Samuels, Nides “is not closely linked with the American-Jewish community,” but he has a close relationship with members of President Joe Biden’s inner circle.

Democratic Majority for Israel CEO Mark Mellman called him “a wonderful man whom I’ve had the honor to know for decades. His deep experience in the State Department, his outstanding diplomatic skills, broad policy knowledge, and his deep commitment to a strong U.S.-Israel relationship make him a perfect choice to be America’s top diplomat in Israel.”

In May 2023, Nides announced plans to resign. Weeks before, he generated controversy when he weighed in on the controversial issue of judicial reform in Israel, which prompted tens of thousands of Israelis to demonstrate against the government.

“We’re telling the prime minister, as I tell my kids. Pump the brakes. Slow down, try to get a consensus, bring the parties together. It’s very complicated, they’re trying to do things way too fast and to pump the brakes, slow down,” Nides said. He added that the “he U.S. isn’t going to be in the position to dictate to Israel how they pick the Supreme Court,” but “the one thing that binds our countries together is a sense of democracy and a sense of democratic institution. That’s how we defend Israel at the UN, that’s how we stand up for the values that we share.”

The comments were criticized by the prime minister and members of the government. Diaspora Minister Amichai Chikli responded, for example, “Pump the brakes yourself and mind your own business.”

Nides subsequently tried to walk back the remarks and began extolling Israeli democracy. “Democracy is alive and well in the State of Israel,” he said.

In April 2023, Nides joined his predecessor, David Friedman, to lead the annual March of the Living at Auschwitz, commemorating the Holocaust.

Nides serves on the boards of the Partnership for Public Service, the International Rescue Committee, the Atlantic Council, and the Urban Alliance Foundation. He is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the former Chairman of Board of the Woodrow Wilson Center appointed by President Obama.

In 1992, Nides married Virginia Carpenter Moseley, CNN’s senior vice president of newsgathering in an interfaith ceremony conducted by a Lutheran minister, Dr. James D. Ford, chaplain of the United States House of Representatives. Nides and Moseley are parents to two adult children: a daughter, Taylor, and a son, Max Moseley.

Sources: “Thomas R. Nides,” Wikipedia.
“Ambassador Thomas R. Nides,” U.S. Embassy in Israel.
Jacob Magid, “Thomas Nides accepts Biden offer to serve as next US envoy to Israel – source,” Times of Israel, (May 25, 2021).
Ben Samuels, “Tom Nides Emerges as Front-runner for Biden’s Ambassador to Israel,” Haaretz, (Apr. 28, 2021).
“Former Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides Rejoins Morgan Stanley as Vice Chairman,” Morgan Stanley, (February 26, 2013).
Ron Kampeas, “This Jewish Obama administration official appears to be the front-runner for US ambassador to Israel,” JTA, (May 3, 2021).
Ben Samuels, “U.S. Ambassador Nides: We’re Telling Netanyahu to Pump Brakes on Judicial Overhaul,” Haaretz, (February 18, 2023).
Alexander Fulbright, “Netanyahu: ‘I’d like to calm our friends — Israel will remain a vibrant democracy,’” Times of Israel, (February 19, 2023).
Lahav Harkov, “US ambassador: Israeli democracy ‘alive and well,’” Jerusalem Post, (May 4, 2023).

Photo: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.