As Trump and Xi Jinping meet in China, an Iowan is the bridge between them

by Kyle Munson, Des Moines Register

BEIJING — The Iowan who has the ear of the leaders of two world superpowers stepped up to a lectern inside a crowded living room of his sumptuous new home — half a world away from where he had spent most of his 70 years.

On a late September evening, Terry Branstad, Iowa’s longest-serving governor and the United States’ newest ambassador to China, addressed an elite cocktail-party crowd of more than 100 Chinese dignitaries, expats and visiting Americans.

“Welcome to the governor’s … no,” he interrupted himself with a chuckle and shake of his head. “I kind of fell back into my old habits there.

“Welcome to the ambassador’s residence in Beijing, China.”

Branstad’s mild misstep was a reminder of the improbable path that took him from a marathon tenure as the folksy governor of a landlocked Midwestern state to his current and much more exotic job as America’s chief liaison to the most populous country on the planet.

Click here to read this piece in the Register.