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Trump Offers Branstad China Ambassador Job, Governor Accepts

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Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad speaks with media after meeting with President-elect Donald Trump. (WHO-HD)

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad speaks with media after meeting with President-elect Donald Trump. (WHO-HD)

NEW YORK — Iowa’s governor will be making a big move in the near-future.

NBC News reported Wednesday it has confirmed Gov. Terry Branstad has accepted President-elect Donald Trump’s offer to become the U.S. Ambassador to China. They are citing a source close to the governor.

CNN’s Dana Bash and Jeff Zeleny also say a source familiar with the decision confirms Trump‎ has offered the post to Branstad. The announcement could be made Wednesday, or Thursday when Trump will be in Des Moines for his “Thank You” tour.

Tuesday night, Bloomberg.com reported President-elect Donald Trump offered Gov. Terry Branstad the U.S. ambassadorship to China and that Branstad accepted the position. Bloomberg.com reporter Jennifer Jacobs cited inside sources, who did not wish to be named, as the source of the information.

No official announcement has been made but Branstad did meet with Trump Tuesday at Trump Tower in New York. Ben Hammes, with the Governor’s Office, said Wednesday morning that, “Any report saying that the governor has accepted a new role in the Administration is premature and not confirmed.”

Gov. Branstad has been a front runner for the ambassador to China position for a while. His early support of Donald Trump’s candidacy and the close trade relationship he has with China have given him a leg up.

Branstad’s relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping goes back more than 30 years, and just last year Branstad agreed to a $2 billion agricultural contract with China. During the election Trump praised Gov. Branstad on his expertise on trade with the Chinese government.

Reporters caught Branstad after the meeting with Trump Tuesday and he offered no clues on the matter.

“We had the opportunity to talk about a number of things and I can`t comment on that at this point in time other than to say that I`m very proud to have supported Donald Trump for president.  I think he`s going to make America great again and bring good jobs to our country and make us more competitive,” Branstad said.

If Branstad does leave his current job to become Ambassador to China, it paves the way for Iowa’s first female governor. Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds would take over the top job in Iowa.