Former United States Ambassador to the European Union

Gordon Sondland

Reveals What Really Went on Behind Closed Doors in Controversial Matters of Ukraine, Iran, Israel, US-EU Trade, and the Impeachment Trial of Donald J. Trump in

New Memoir

In THE ENVOY: Mastering the Art of Diplomacy with Trump and the World (Bombardier Books, an imprint of Post Hill Press; November, 2022; ISBN: 9781637585283; $28; Hardcover), former US Ambassador to the European Union, hotelier, avid art collector, and author, Gordon Sondland, shares his frank and honest, self-deprecating assessment of the state of American politics, international relations, his participation in the impeachment trial, and his behind-the-scenes dealings with former President, Donald J. Trump.  The memoir details Sondland’s prosperous, personal story:  first as the son of immigrant parents who survived the Holocaust, then a college dropout who became an entrepreneur, hotelier, and art collector; and now, as the former U.S. Ambassador to the EU.  The Envoy candidly reveals where Sondland stands in life and in politics—describing himself as a “Republican who is a sensible centrist” with a ‘cut to the chase’ attitude. The motive of writing the book now, Sondland says, “is to inspire those who may not come from a privileged, Ivy League background to still believe in the American dream.”  The book also pivots to politics. “The Envoy is not part of a smear campaign against Trump,” notes the author. “However, it does reveal critical, first-hand, candid and insights of the former president that you may or may not believe.”  

Throughout his long career in public service, Sondland has placed a priority on telling the truth, doing what’s right, and getting results that benefit our country over towing his party’s line.  

The first of his family to be born in the USA, to a Jewish couple who fled Europe under duress, Sondland was independent and relentlessly driven from a young age. Growing up as poor and odd kid on Mercer Island in Washington State, he had high ambitions of becoming a pilot, which came crashing down when he bombed the flight test. As a college dropout in his twenties, he landed in real estate, determined to make enough money to move out of his parents’ house.  He seized on the idea of turning a full city block for sale in Seattle into a Canadian developer’s dream location for a high-rise office building. After months of persistence, he closed the deal—for $15 million in 1979. That success put him on the path to prosperity in the hotel business—a field that, as he came to realize, provides the “perfect training for diplomats.” 

Yes, Sondland admits he’s a quid pro quo guy, and, yes, he got Trump’s attention with a million-dollar donation. But, as he knows from experience, give-and-take is how diplomacy, business, and pretty much everything in life works. And he set his sights on the ambassador’s job as an opportunity to make a difference.   

“I came to my post in Brussels determined to effect real change, to advance America’s interests on issues like trade, security, and energy—and to really take Europe to task in terms of living up to their reputation as our most valued and long-standing partner,” Sondland asserts. “When I got involved in issues in Ukraine, I did so because the country is of key geographic and strategic importance, and its relationship with the US and EU is therefore important. A strong understanding between the three of us was in everyone’s best interest. But with the way things played out, that goal was suddenly tossed aside in a storm the likes of which no one saw coming.”   

In THE ENVOY, Gordon Sondland lets readers in on: 

  • The complicated politics of international trade negotiations, including why he supported Trump’s view of the Iran nuclear deal and decision to withdraw the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPOA)—for the safety of democratic nations everywhere. “Iran is a mortal threat to Israel, one of our key allies,” he observes. “Iran also funds, plans, and executes malign activity all over the world…  if Iran gets intercontinental ballistic missiles, it will not hesitate to hold us all hostage to its demands.” 
  • His informed view on the vital economic relationship between the US and the EU, and why he (partly) agreed with Trump’s assessment that the EU acts like a cartel and exploits the US under false claims of needing our protection.    
  • Why he felt compelled to cooperate with the impeachment hearing: Trump did not send him to Ukraine; he wasn’t there to investigate Joe Biden or his son; and he had nothing to do with Guiliani and his reported activities.   
  • His secret to getting along with Trump and getting things done. “To deal with a bully, you have to stand up to him. To deal with an egomaniac, you have to feed that ego. To deal with a decision maker who sees black and white and not shades of grey in every decision, you have to give him two options and paint one of them—the one you want—as obviously far more attractive.”  
  • The mundane reality behind the two wildly divergent and equally false storylines about the role he played in Trump’s impeachment trial. (No, he wasn’t a shill for the president; no, he wasn’t a traitor to his party.) His only agenda: “simply to tell the truth, get the hell out of the courtroom, and get back to work.” 
  • Why he believes Ukraine was a “red herring” in Trump’s impeachment trial, and his assessment of President Zelensky and Ukraine’s promise but hard road ahead to becoming embraced by the West and welcomed into NATO.   
  • Why he was stunned by the fallout of his testimony and never expected to hear Trump say, “You’re fired!”—and his perspective on the issues and challenges facing America’s future as an economic and political power.       

About the Author

GORDON SONDLAND served as the 20th United States Ambassador to the European Union, appointed by President Donald J. Trump in 2018. As one of the highest-ranking US officials in Europe, his portfolio included trade, energy, national security, defense agriculture, and several other files. He was previously appointed by President George W. Bush to the Commission for White House Fellowships and by Oregon Governor Kulongoski to serve as a principal Republican liaison between Oregon and the White House, a position he held for seven years. Sondland is the founder and CEO of Provenance Hotels. Over the last 30 years, the Gordon D. Sondland and Katherine J. Durant Foundation has donated millions of dollars to causes from childhood education and ending hunger to the arts. The Foundation recently created the Sondland and Durant Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Duke University.  For more information, please visit  

To interview Ambassador Sondland in November—including national and local TV, radio, print and online in NYC, Washington, DC, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Seattle, Washington—or receive a reviewer copy of the book, please call or email Justin Loeber, Patrick Paris, Ni’Cole Gipson or Christine Finnegan at 212-260-7576 or 

Suggested Interview Questions for 


Author of The Envoy 

(Contact: Justin, Patrick, or Christine @ 212-260-7576 or


What motivated you to write a memoir of your tenure as U.S. Ambassador to the European Union under President Trump, The Envoy (Bombardier Books/Post Hill Press; November 2022)?    


What qualified you to serve as an ambassador? Why do you believe that political appointees to the job—who like you were, tend to be big donors—have the edge over career foreign service officers in getting things done? 


In the book, you reveal that you’re a college dropout and describe your background as humble.  How so?   


In The Envoy, you share your highly favorable views of two men with the potential to become POTUS, Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney. Why were they both woefully underrated by the Republican party?  


What were your initial impressions of Donald J. Trump? How did you gradually come to support him and even admire him?   


Would you give us an example of the way Trump defied politics as usual with effective results? 


In The Envoy, you describe yourself as a “quid pro quo guy.” Why is that something to be proud of? 


From your experience, why do you tend to agree with Trump’s comparison of the EU to a cartel? 


As an ambassador, what was your mission in setting up a meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky? 


In The Envoy, you describe Ukraine as a “red herring” in the Trump impeachment inquiry. Would you explain why? 


Did you even consider ignoring the subpoena to testify against Trump in the impeachment hearings? 


What is your opinion of Rudy Giuliani? Do you think Trump’s trust in him was misplaced? 


What most surprised you at the response—from Democrats, from Republicans, and from Trump—to your testimony at the impeachment hearings?           


In your book, you emphatically state that you will “never forgive” Trump for what happened on January 6. In your view, is the former president guilty of sedition? Does he deserve to be charged with and prosecuted for a federal crime?    


If your parents were alive today would they have been proud that you were an ambassador under Donald J. Trump? 


If he’s not tried and convicted, do you think Trump should run for President in 2024? Would you vote for him? 


What would you most like readers to take away from The Envoy?  


Where can they order your book or learn more about you?