Donald Trump appeared to have revealed Thursday that Jets owner Woody Johnson is his choice to become ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Trump, whose Presidential inauguration is Friday, was speaking at a luncheon in Washington when he introduced a guest as “sitting next to the ambassador Woody Johnson, going to Saint James.” Ambassador of the United States to the Court of St James is the official diplomatic title.
“Congratulations, Woody,” Trump said.
The appointment has not been formally announced, but Johnson, 69, had been considered a favorite for the job. The billionaire businessman and philanthropist from the Johnson & Johnson family has known Trump for years.
Johnson, whose given name is Robert Wood Johnson IV, originally backed Trump rival Jeb Bush in the GOP primaries and served as Bush’s national finance chairman. But after Bush withdrew from the race, Johnson turned his focus toward raising funds for Trump.
In May 2016, the New York Times reported that Trump privately met with Johnson and said of the Jets owner: “Woody’s a great guy. Woody will support me. He’s a terrific guy, he’s been a friend of mine a long time.”
There has been talk of the National Football League someday locating a team in London. The league has been playing a series of regular-season games there since 2007, and has scheduled four London games for 2017. Johnson was with the team in 2015 when the Jets played the Dolphins at Wembley Stadium.
The Jets and Johnson have yet to comment on what appears to be his pending appointment or how it will impact the team’s business leadership. While Johnson is expected to maintain ownership of the team, he’ll likely have to surrender day-to-day operations. ProFootballTalk.com recently reported that Johnson’s brother, Christopher, would be that person.
Johnson also serves on the NFL’s Finance Committee, Business Ventures Committee and Media Committee.
With The Associated Press