Former Utah governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Jr. is President Trump's choice to be the next U.S. ambassador to Russia, White House officials said on Wednesday.

Huntsman, who served as the ambassador to China during the Obama administration and had been considering a Senate run in 2018, would enter the ambassador post during an unusual time in American-Russian relations with alleged interference in the U.S. election by Russia.

White House officials spoke on the condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement.

Back in October, Huntsman called on Trump to drop out of the presidential race following audio recording where Trump bragged about groping women. Huntsman even suggested that Mike Pence, who was the governor of Indiana at the time, to head the presidential ticket.

"In a campaign cycle that has been nothing but a race to the bottom — at such a critical moment for our nation — and with so many who have tried to be respectful of a record primary vote, the time has come for Governor Pence to lead the ticket," Huntsman told The Salt Lake Tribune.

Contributing: The Associated Press