President Joe Biden has tapped a South Florida real estate magnate, longtime Democratic donor and past chair of a Biden presidential campaign to serve as the new U.S. ambassador to Belgium.
The White House announced Wednesday Biden nominated Michael Adler, Chair and CEO of Miami-based real estate firm Adler Group, to replace Chicago businessman and Donald Trump appointee Ronald Gidwitz in the role.
The official title is Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Belgium.
Adler was one of three ambassador nominees announced. Others include California nonprofit Heluna Health Chair Erik Ramanathan, who was nominated to represent the U.S. in Sweden, and Georgia state Rep. Calvin Smyre for the Dominican Republic.
Adler and Ramanathan fundraised for Biden’s 2020 presidential run. Both also brought big donations for the campaigns of former President Barack Obama.
Adler met Biden in 1973, according to a January interview Adler gave to Jewish American media outlet The Forward. Biden was then a junior Senator from Delaware, and Adler’s sister worked in his Washington office.
Adler formed the Adler Group five years later. The firm today has more than 10,000 rental apartments and 20 million square feet of commercial space from South Florida through the Southeast, mid-Atlantic and Texas markets, according to the company website.
Biden and Adler remained in touch. Adler served as national finance chair for Biden’s 2008 presidential run. During the run-up to the 2020 election, Adler served as a Biden campaign surrogate in Florida.
In 2019, Adler held a private fundraiser for Biden in Coral Gables, where Biden told some 200 attendees that Trump’s first term would “go down as an aberration, an anomaly” if held to four years but would “fundamentally change the nature of who we are” if allowed to extend past that.
Biden warned at the time that eight years of Trump would lead to “a phenomenal dislocation … around the world,” including “the end of NATO and a whole range of other things that … maintain peace.”
Earlier this year, the Washington Post reported Adler was being considered for the Belgium position, citing “people familiar with White House plans.” The Post said Adler, who has served as president of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and is on the Jewish Democratic Council of America, wanted to be Ambassador to Israel.
Adler told The Forward he hoped to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship, noting Biden’s support for America’s closest Middle East ally is “genuine.”
In a statement quoted by Politico, Adler characterized the relationship between the U.S. and Belgium as “one of good friends and NATO allies,” adding: “If confirmed to this important role, I will work hard to further strengthen the strong ties between our governments and our peoples as we continue to cooperate on the full range of global challenges.”