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U.S. Senate Confirms John J. Sullivan to be Deputy Secretary of State

Posted: 2:17 am ET

 

On May 24, the U.S. Senate confirmed John J. Sullivan as Deputy Secretary of State in a 94-6 vote. Six senators voted against Mr. Sullivan’s confirmation: Booker (D-NJ), Duckworth (D-IL), Gillibrand (D-NY), Harris (D-CA), Warren (D-MA), and Sanders (I-VT).

2017-05-24 PN350 Department of State | John J. Sullivan, of Maryland, to be Deputy Secretary of State.

While Mr. Sullivan is reportedly expected to be dual hatted as “D” and “D/MR”, his nomination is only for the position of Deputy Secretary of State. As somebody who is not a newbie in the federal government, he would recognize the deleterious effect of leaving the upper ranks of the State Department empty, but we’ll have to wait and see if his arrival makes a difference in the speed of appointments. See related posts below.

Deputy Commerce Secretary John J. Sullivan Swearing In Ceremony | May 27, 2008 (Photo via Department of Commerce)

Related posts:

@StateDept Deputy Secretary of State Nominee John Sullivan Gets a Senate Hearing

Trump to nominate John J. Sullivan to be @StateDept’s No.2 and to also serve as No.3

Previously Announced DOD Nominee John J. Sullivan Now Slated to be @StateDept’s No. 2

 

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Confirmations: Todd Haskell (Congo), Tulinabo Mushingi (Senegal/Guinea-Bissau), Terry Branstad (China)

Posted: 2:29 am ET

 

On May 18, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nominations of career diplomats Todd Haskell and Tulinabo Salama Mushingi to be the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Congo and the Republic of Senegal/Republic of Guinea-Bissau respectively (see SFRC Hearings: Mushingi (Senegal/Guinea-Bissau), Haskell (Republic Of The Congo).

2017-05-18 PN83 Republic of the Congo
Todd Philip Haskell, of Florida, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of the Congo.

2017-05-18 PN84 Republic of Senegal/Republic of Guinea-Bissau
Tulinabo Salama Mushingi, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Senegal, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Guinea-Bissau.

On May 22, 1017, the U.S. Senate confirmed Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as the next Ambassador to China (see SFRC Hearing: Terry Branstad to be Ambasador to The People’s Republic Of China (Updated)Trump to Nominate Iowa Gov Terry Branstad as U.S. Ambassador to China.

2017-05-22 PN52 People’s Republic of China
Terry Branstad, of Iowa, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the People’s Republic of China.

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Trump Expected to Nominate Callista Gingrich as the Next Ambassador to the Holy See

Posted: 2:50 am ET

 

According to history.state.gov, the United States maintained a presence in Rome throughout the nineteenth century. The United States at different times had a Minister to the Papal States, Minister to the Pontifical States, and finally, a Minister to Rome from 1848 until Kingdom of Italy conquered Rome in 1870. Throughout much of the twentieth century, successive U.S. Presidents sent a Personal Representative to the Holy See, the diplomatic representative of the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope with its headquarters in Vatican City.

The United States and the Holy See established diplomatic relations by agreement between President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II on January 10, 1984, when William A. Wilson presented his credentials to the Pope, elevating his position from Personal Representative of the President to U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See.

Callista Gingrich, the wife of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is widely reported as the expected nominee to be the next ambassador to the Vatican. No official announcement has been made as of this writing. President Trump is scheduled to leave this week for his first trip overseas with stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel, The Vatican, Belgium, and Italy (May 26-27) for the 43rd G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily.

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New Ambassador David Friedman Arrives in Israel, in Time For POTUS Visit and For a Diplomatic Spat

Posted: 3:50 am ET

 

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Trump to Nominate San Diego Developer “Papa” Doug Manchester to be Ambassador to The Bahamas

Posted: 3:46 am ET

 

On May 15, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Doug Manchester as the next Ambassador to the Bahamas. The WH released a very brief bio:

If confirmed, “Papa” Doug Manchester of California will serve as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.  Mr. Manchester is a leading industrialist with accomplishments on a national and international scale in telecommunications, radio broadcast, medical instrumentation, publishing, and real estate development.  Since 1970, he has been Chairman of Manchester Financial Group, which has multiple divisions including Manchester Grand Resorts and M Commercial Properties.  He leads the Manchester Charitable Foundation and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of The Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute.  Mr. Manchester earned a B.S. from San Diego State University.

The most recent Senate-confirmed Ambassador to the Bahamas was Nicole Avant who was appointed by President Obama on October 16, 2009 and served until November 21, 2011.  Career FSO John W. Dinkelman served as Chargè d’Affaires from November 2011 until July 2014. Career FSO Lisa A. Johnson assumed office as Chargè d’Affaires and has served in that capacity since July 9, 2014.

A note about this vacancy.  On February 10, 2014, President Obama nominated a law school classmate and his Deputy White House counsel, Cassandra Q. Butts, to be the U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas. The Senate did not confirm her to the post. The Hill reported that her nomination was blocked by Republican senators, including Ted Cruz(Texas) and Tom Cotton (Ark.), over unrelated issues.  The Hill also noted that she died before the Senate held a vote on her confirmation, with a total of 835 days elapsing between the day she was nominated and the day she died.

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@StateDept Deputy Secretary of State Nominee John Sullivan Gets a Senate Hearing

Posted: 2:11 am ET

 

On April 11, the White House officially announced President Trump’s intent to nominate Mr. Sullivan not only as the State Department’s Deputy Secretary of State (D) but to also serve concurrently as Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources (D/MR). )see Trump to nominate John J. Sullivan to be @StateDept’s No.2 and to also serve as No.3 and Previously Announced DOD Nominee John J. Sullivan Now Slated to be @StateDept’s No. 2).

On May 9. Mr. Sullivan appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for his confirmation hearing. NPR reported that the deputy secretary of state nominee said during the confirmation hearing that there have been no decisions on job cuts despite reports that 2,300 positions are on the chopping block. Sullivan says that the secretary of state has only just begun to solicit input from staff around the globe.

The nominee is a nephew of the late Ambassador William Healy Sullivan (October 12, 1922 – October 11, 2013), a career FSO who served as Ambassador to Laos from 1964–1969, the Philippines from 1973–1977, and Iran from 1977–1979.  Barring any late minute issue, we expect that Mr. Sullivan will be confirmed as the next “D.”

Excerpt from his prepared testimony:

A small number of public servants are accepted into the Foreign Service, which I know well. My uncle Bill Sullivan was a Foreign Service Officer for 32 years. He was the last U.S. Ambassador to Iran in the late 1970s. It was his staff in Tehran that was taken hostage on November 4, 1979—a few months after the President had recalled him.

It is an earlier date from 1979, however, that sticks out in my mind: February 14, Valentine’s Day. The U.S. Embassy in Tehran was overrun by a mob, and my uncle and his staff were seized. After a few hours, the Americans were released and the embassy reopened. My uncle appeared in a picture on the cover of the next issue of Newsweek. He was surrounded by Iranians carrying assault weapons, one of whom was brandishing a bayonet in his face.

That day in 1979 is significant to me not merely because of the drama in Iran, but also because of a tragedy in Afghanistan. Our Ambassador, Spike Dubs, was kidnapped and assassinated in Kabul. Like my uncle, Ambassador Dubs was a U.S. Navy World War II veteran and a career Foreign Service Officer.

The assassination of Ambassador Dubs and the seizure of our embassy in Tehran on February 14, 1979, made a huge impression on me. I have remained in awe of our Foreign Service Officers who venture into such dangerous places on our behalf.

If confirmed, it would be my highest honor to work with the Foreign Service, the Civil Service, and the Department’s locally employed staff in the conduct of American diplomacy. In a world in which we face significant and enduring threats, these challenging times require leadership from the United States. As Secretary Tillerson said when he came before this committee, “to achieve the stability that is foundational to peace and security in the 21st century, American leadership must not only be renewed, it must be asserted.”

Read in full here (PDF). Clips below:

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Senate Confirms Amb. Robert Lighthizer as Trump’s U.S. Trade Representative

Posted: 4:33 pm ET

 

On January 3, then President-elect Trump announced his intent to nominate former deputy USTR Robert Lighthizer as the next U.S. Trade Representative (@USTradeRep).  If confirmed, Ambassador Lighthizer would succeed Ambassador Michael Froman who was sworn in as the 17th United States Trade Representative (USTR) on June 21, 2013 as President Obama’s principal advisor, negotiator and spokesperson on international trade and investment issues (see Trump to Nominate Robert Lighthizer as the Next U.S. Trade Representative).

Today, the Senate confirmed Robert Lighthizer, of Florida, to be United States Trade Representative, with the rank of Ambassador in an 82-14 vote; four GOP senators did not cast their votes. Three Republican senators, McCain (R-AZ), Sasse (R-NE), and Gardner (R-CO) joined 11 Democrats for the no votes.

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Trump to Nominate Former Ambassador Mark Green as USAID Administrator

Posted: 2:48 am ET

 

On May 4 we blogged about former GOP Representative Mark Green as the prospective USAID Administrator (see Expected USAID Pick Ex-GOP Rep Mark Green Lost in the Trump Jungle). On May 10, President Trump announced his intent to nominate  Mark Andrew Green of Wisconsin to be Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development. The WH released the following brief bio:

Ambassador Mark Green is currently serving as President of the International Republican Institute (IRI), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing citizen-responsive, citizen-centered governance around the world. In addition to his leadership of IRI, during 2011-16, he served on the Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation. In 2007-09, he served as the U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania, and oversaw major programs in the areas of global health and economic development. Prior to his role as ambassador, Mr. Green represented Wisconsin’s 8th District in the U.S. House of Representatives and served on the House Judiciary and International Relations Committees. He helped craft key policy initiatives like the Millennium Challenge Act and President George W. Bush’s international AIDS program.

He holds a law degree from the University of Wisconsin, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, and an honorary Doctor of Science from Georgetown University.

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SFRC Hearing: Terry Branstad to be Ambasador to The People’s Republic Of China (Updated)

Posted: 2:53 am ET
Updated: 2:02 pm ET

 

Date: Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: SD-419
Presiding: Senator Corker

Nominee

The Honorable Terry Branstad Of Iowa, To Be Ambassador Extraordinary And Plenipotentiary Of The United States Of America To The People’s Republic Of China

Live hearing and prepared testimony are posted here. Excerpt below from prepared statement:

If confirmed, as Ambassador, I will work every day to represent American values to the leadership of China and the Chinese people at large; values that include upholding human rights for all, a free and open market, a rules-based order in the oceans surrounding China, and the importance of a free press.

I look forward to joining the impressive and committed team of public servants and their families from the U.S. State Department and many other U.S. government agencies at our embassy in Beijing and consulates across China. Leading this team of dedicated professionals, who are working as we speak to promote America’s interests in China, would be a great honor and a responsibility that I would not take lightly.
[…]
If confirmed, I hope to use my unique position as an “old friend” of President Xi and a trusted confidant of President Trump to positively influence the U.S.-China relationship. As the Governor of Iowa, I saw first-hand the importance of a positive and healthy trade relationship between our two countries. Nearly, one out of every two rows of Iowa soybeans is sent to China, as well as $33.5 million in pork in 2016. The importance of trade extends well beyond agriculture too. Aviation products, manufactured goods, chemicals, electronics, and many other products and services are exported to China daily and help support and sustain the American economy.

Updated: 2:02 pm ET

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Heather Nauert: From Fox News Channel to State Department Spokesperson


Posted: 2:26 pm ET
Updated: April 28, 10:32 pm ET

 

Today, the State Department announced the appointment of Heather Nauert (@HeatherNauert) as the new State Department Spokesperson. This job does not require Senate confirmation, and appears to be, once more, separate from the Assistant Secretary (A/S) position that heads the Bureau of Public Affairs. Previous assistant secretaries who were also the official spokespersons for the State Department includes Richard A. Boucher (2001–2005), Sean McCormack (2005–2009), Philip J. Crowley (2009–2011) and most recently, Admiral John F. Kirby (2015-2017). Previous assistant secretaries Michael A. Hammer (2012–2013) and Douglas Frantz (2013–2015) did not function as official spokespersons during their tenures as Assistant Secretaries for Public Affairs.  Career diplomat Toria Nuland was spokesperson from 2011-2013 during the Hammer tenure, and Frantz’ tenure from 2013-2015 brought us  Jen Psaki and Marie Harf.

The State Department released the following statement on Ms. Nauert’s appointment:

The Department of State is pleased to welcome Heather Nauert as the new State Department Spokesperson. Nauert comes to the Department with more than 15 years of experience as an anchor and correspondent covering both foreign and domestic news and events, including the 9-11 terror attacks, the war in Iraq, and the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. Heather’s media experience and long interest in international affairs will be invaluable as she conveys the Administration’s foreign policy priorities to the American people and the world.

Prior to joining the State Department, Nauert was a New York-based Fox News Channel anchor and correspondent. On the top-rated morning cable news show, “Fox and Friends,” she was responsible for reporting breaking news. In addition, she regularly solo and co-anchored programs on Fox News and contributed to every news platform, including radio, satellite radio and internet.

Nauert joined Fox after graduating from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Domestically, Nauert reported on the past four presidential elections, including filing reports from battleground states, Republican and Democrat conventions and the inauguration. She also anchored coverage of the terror attacks in Orlando, San Bernardino, and Boston, as well as the 2008 financial crisis. Prior to joining Fox News, Nauert served as a network correspondent for ABC News, where she traveled extensively for breaking news stories in the United States and abroad. At ABC News, her in-depth piece on teenage girls in Iraq during the war was nominated for an Emmy. Before working in news, she was an advisor in the health care industry. She is a graduate of Mount Vernon College in Washington D.C.

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