Trump Transition: Additional Agency Landing Team Members For @StateDept

Posted: 1:25 am ET
[twitter-follow screen_name=’Diplopundit’ ]

We are updating the list of the Trump Transition Landing Team for the State Department as four names have been added since we posted last.  The original post is appended after the update:


Robert Blau
Employer (current or most recent): U.S. Department of State (Retired)
Funding source: Volunteer | via

Robert Blau is a retired Senior Foreign Service Officer. He previously served as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim (El Salvador) from January 2009 until September 2010.  It looks like he served with Ambassador Charles L. Glazer, previously named as member of the landing team.  Ambassador Glazer was appointed by President George W. Bush as US Ambassador to El Salvador from January 2007 until January 2009. We’ve tagged him under two posts in this blog, here and here.

Catharine O’Neill
Employer (current or most recent): U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee (Formerly)
Funding source: Volunteer | via notes that Catharine O’Neill is “a recent college graduate, according to her LinkedIn profile. She graduated earlier this year from the University of Vermont with a bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies and political science. She interned for the summer on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.”

Andrew Peek
Employer (current or most recent): Claremont McKenna College
Funding source: Volunteer | via

Peek was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College (2015).  He is a former U.S. Army Intelligence officer and a fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at AFPC according to this American Foreign Policy Council bio here.

Herman Pirchner
Employer (current or most recent): American Foreign Policy Council
Funding source: Volunteer | via

Herman Pirchner, Jr. is the founding President of the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC), a non-profit public policy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. He directed the national security team advising the 2012 Presidential campaign of Newt Gingrich. According to his bio, before founding AFPC, Mr. Pirchner served in the U.S. Senate as Director of Legislation for Senator Roger Jepsen (R-IA)  and Legislative Assistant to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) current Chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.


Originally posted: Nov 20, 4:55 pm ET
Updated Nov 21, 12:51 pm PT

We previously posted about transition names for the State Department (see @StateDept Transition Names: Jim Carafano, Kristie Kenney, Patrick Kennedy, Joseph MacManus). On November 18, President-elect Trump announced the first wave of agency landing teams for the Department of Defense, Department of State, National Security Council, and the Department of Justice. The following are the names for the State Department landing team:

Ambassador Jackie Wolcott – Former Ambassador/Special Representative

Employer (current or most recent): U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
Funding source: Volunteer

According to, Ambassador Wolcott was previously appointed U.S. Ambassador to the UN Security Council. She also previously served as United States Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and as Special Representative of the President of the United States for the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons from December 2003 through February of 2006.  She had been Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs (State/OI) from 2001 to 2003.  Ballotpedia says that she is a member of Donald Trump’s presidential transition team. Click here for her bio from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom where she is commissioner.

Charles Glazer – Former US Ambassador to El Salvador

Employer (current or most recent): Fieldpoint Private
Funding source: Private

Ballotpedia notes that Glazer was previously George W. Bush’s ambassador to El Salvador and with fellow Connecticut delegate Kevin Moynihan served as state finance chairs for the Donald Trump campaign. Click here for his Wikipedia bio.


Christopher Burnham – Former A/S for Resource Management
Employer (current or most recent): Cambridge Global Capital, LLC
Funding source: Volunteer

He was originally appointed as Director of the Bureau of Finance and Management Policy and Chief Financial Officer  at the State Department in 2002. lists him as Assistant Secretary of State for Resource Management from 2002-2005. He was appointed UN Under-Secretary-General for Management in 2005 until his resignation in 2006.  According to Ballotpedia, Burnham is a member of Donald Trump’s presidential transition team.

Erin Walsh
Employer (current or most recent): Goldman Sachs (Retired)
Funding source: Volunteer

According to Ballotpedia, she is a member of Donald Trump’s presidential transition team. Her bio posted on notes that she served previously as Senior Advisor in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department (State/NEA).

Ashley Bell
Employer (current or most recent): Republican National Committee
Funding source: Transition entity

He is the national director of African-American outreach for the Republican National Committee. He was previously elected as a Democrat in Georgia, holding the position of County Commissioner, but later switched to the Republican party in late 2010. Bell supported Sen. Paul for President abut later in the race switched his support to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) according to NBCNews.  According to Ballotpedia, he is a member of Donald Trump’s presidential transition team.

Alexander Gray

Employer (current or most recent): Trump for America, Inc.
Funding source: Transition entity 

Gray is a Trump campaign adviser who formerly worked for Republican Congressman Randy Forbes (R-VA), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower & Projection Forces Subcommittee.  On the campaign website, he is also identified as a senior military advisor.

Additional name for the State Department landing team announced on November 21:

Steven Groves
Employer (current or most recent): The Heritage Foundation
Funding source: Private

Groves is the Bernard and Barbara Lomas senior research fellow in Heritage’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom. His Heritage bio notes that “Before joining Heritage in 2007, Groves was senior counsel to the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He played a lead role in the subcommittee’s investigation of the U.N. “oil-for-food” scandal, the most extensive congressional probe ever conducted of the United Nations.”