GOP candidates for the presidency, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are both Mormons.
Jon Huntsman’s grandfather was an apostle in the Mormon church, his father is a lay leader in the church, and Huntsman himself was a Mormon missionary to Taiwan, which gave him the language skills that helped land his last job, as President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China.
Under President George H.W. Bush, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for trade development and commerce for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. In June 1992, Bush appointed him to become U.S. Ambassador to Singapore, and was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate in August.
Huntsman (former Governor of Utah), 51, who is married to Mary Kaye with seven children, includes one daughter adopted from Chin, Gracie Mei and another from India, Asha Bharati.
Huntsman has said that he and his wife draw from an array of sources for inspiration, stating:
“I was raised a Mormon, Mary Kaye was raised Episcopalian, our kids have gone to Catholic school, I went to a Lutheran school growing up in Los Angeles. I have an adopted daughter from India who has a very distinct Hindu tradition, one that we would celebrate during Diwali. So you kind of bind all this together.”
President Barack Obama nominated Jon Huntsman to serve as the United States Ambassador to China on May 16, 2009, noting his experience in the region and proficiency in Mandarin Chinese.
In February 2011, Huntsman was the target of China’s Internet policing in the wake of the 2010–2011 Middle East and North Africa protests, otherwise known as the Jasmine Revolution. Huntsman was captured on video at a square crowded with protesters. When approached by a demonstrator, he reportedly said: “I’m just here to look around.” The event was termed “The Huntsman Walk”, and his Chinese name, ??? (Hóng Bópéi), was temporarily blocked from Chinese search engines.
Huntsman resigned from his position as Ambassador, effective April 30, 2011.
He is a founding director of the Pacific Council on International Policy and has served on the boards of the Brookings Institution Asia Policy Board, the Asia Society in New York, and the National Bureau of Asian Research.