Trump Exits From Syria, Cites “Historic Victories Against ISIS”

The President of the United States minus the “Mission Accomplished” banner, announcing the “historic victories against ISIS” and withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria:

The happy, thumbs-up people:

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SFRC Clears @StateDept, @USAID Nominees; Two Senate Holds

USAID

Mr. John Barsaof Florida, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development 

Ms. Bonnie Glickof Maryland, to be Deputy Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development

AMBASSADORSHIPS

Mr. Christopher Paul Henzelof Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Yemen

Mr. Michael S. Klecheskiof New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Mongolia

Ms. Sarah-Ann Lynch, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Co-operative Republic of Guyana

The Honorable Matthew John Matthewsof Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Brunei Darussalam

Ms. Lynne M. Tracyof Ohio, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Armenia

Mr. Earle D. Litzenbergerof California, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenitpotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Azerbaijan

The Honorable Kyle McCarterof Illinois, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States to the Republic of Kenya

Mr. Arthur B. Culvahouse, Jr.of Tennessee, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Commonwealth of Australia

FSO LIST: 

Kelly E. Adams-Smith, et al., dated November 13, 2018 (PN 2622), as modified

STATE DEPARTMENT

The Honorable Carol Z. Perezof Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Director General of the Foreign Service

The following nominations were included in the SFRC’s Business Meeting of December 13 but did not make it out of Committee. News report says the following nominees are subject to two separate Senate hold.  

Mr. R. Clarke Cooper, of Florida, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Political-Military Affairs) – Senate hold by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass

Mr. David Schenker, of New Jersey, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Near Eastern Affairs) – Senate hold by Senator Tim Kaine, D-Va.

U.S. Senate votes to end U.S. support for #SaudiWar in #Yemen, condemns #KhashoggiMurder

Heather Nauert Nomination: Reactions

Pompeo Talks Up Saudi “Investment” in Yemen, and USG’s “Additional” $131M Assistance #ExcludingArms

 

On November 28, the Secretary of State told the world that “Saudi Arabia has invested billions to relive suffering in Yemen.” Pretty soon,  Saudi Arabia’s spokesman would not have a job anymore.

The Guardian reported that in 2017, the Yemen appeal for $2.5bn was only 73% funded, but that the needs have intensified in a country battered since 2015 by a Saudi-led military offensive aimed at repelling Iran-backed Houthi rebels who control the capital. In April this year, during a UN donor conference for people affected by war in Yemen – labelled as the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis” – has received pledges of more than $2bn, close to half of which is promised by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two key protagonists in the conflict, according to the same report. Click here for the OCHA page for pledges and paid contributions for Yemen.

On October 24, 2017, U.S. Ambassador Matthew H. Tueller re-issued a disaster declaration for the ongoing complex emergency in Yemen for FY 2018 due to “continued humanitarian needs resulting from the complex emergency and the impact of the country’s political and economic crises on vulnerable populations.”  USAID’s November 9, 2018 Factsheet on Yemen Disaster Assistance indicates that the United States humanitarian funding for the Yemen response in FY2018 is $566,273,269 (includes funding through the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), the Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP), and the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (State/PRM)).  Secretary Pompeo’s tweet on November 28 says that the United States is providing an “additional” $131 million in food assistance to Yemen.

According to the CRS, since March 2015, the U.S.-trained Saudi military has used U.S.-origin weaponry, U.S. logistical assistance, and shared intelligence in support of military operations in Yemen. Excerpt:

In May 2017, President Trump signaled a continuation and deepening of bilateral defense cooperation, announcing completed and proposed defense sales during his visit to Riyadh with a potential value of more than $110 billion. The sales include cases that the Obama Administration had proposed and notified to Congress, cases developed under the Obama Administration on which Congress had been preliminarily consulted, and new sales that remain under development.
[…]
The United States’ role in supporting the Saudi-led coalition’s military operations in Yemen has evolved over time. 65 At present, it consists of some intelligence sharing, aerial refueling, and the deployment of advisers to Saudi Arabia for border security and anti-ballistic missile purposes.66 In his latest biannual War Powers letters to Congress on the deployment of U.S. forces abroad in combat operations (P.L. 93-148), President Trump informed Congress about ongoing U.S. counterterrorism operations in Yemen and stated that U.S. forces in noncombat roles were providing “military advice and limited information, logistics, and other support to regional forces combatting the Houthi insurgency.”

So, on one hand, we’re supporting the side that’s indiscriminately bombing hospitals, school buses and children, and on the other hand, we’re spending millions of dollars for food and humanitarian assistance to help those who are bombed and starved.  Also, our Secretary of Swagger did not just announced the additional millions in food assistance but also cited “our generous example” in “galvanizing humanitarian assistance.” When is this going up on Instagram, people?

By the way, the most recent USAID/OFDA official said “no amount of aid money can prevent this famine” and that absent massive political pressure on the Saudi, this is just “window dressing.” 

Related item: Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations (PDF) | Updated September 21, 2018 (Congressional Research Service).

ALSO THIS:

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Senate Confirmation Fight in the Horizon Once Again? Tick-Tock

 

The 70th Secretary of State is now publicly pushing to have his senior officials confirmed by the Senate. When the Senators returns from their election break, they have less than 20 working days left for the year.  And it looks like judicial nominees are taking precedence. Tick-Tock.

Hey, just a few years ago, the 69th Secretary of State was looking to have his senior officials confirmed, too. And that was months before the mid-terms. One of the nominees, Cassandra Q. Butts even spent 835 days after she was nominated waiting for Senate confirmation; she died waiting. GOP Senators put a hold on the nomination unrelated to her qualification.

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John Kerry: Every Day Is Extra (Book Preview)

Via Amazon:

John Kerry tells the story of his remarkable American life—from son of a diplomat to decorated Vietnam veteran, five-term United States senator, 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, and Secretary of State for four years—a revealing memoir by a witness to some of the most important events of our recent history.

Every Day Is Extra is John Kerry’s candid personal story. A Yale graduate, Kerry enlisted in the US Navy in 1966, and served in Vietnam. He returned home highly decorated but disillusioned, and testified powerfully before Congress as a young veteran opposed to the war.

Kerry served as a prosecutor in Massachusetts, then as lieutenant governor, and was elected to the Senate in 1984, eventually serving five terms. In 2004 he was the Democratic presidential nominee and came within one state—Ohio—of winning. Kerry returned to the Senate, chaired the important Foreign Relations Committee, and succeeded Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State in 2013. In that position he tried to find peace in the Middle East; dealt with the Syrian civil war while combatting ISIS; and negotiated the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate agreement.

Every Day Is Extra is Kerry’s passionate, insightful, sometimes funny, always moving account of his life. Kerry tells wonderful stories about colleagues Ted Kennedy and John McCain, as well as President Obama and other major figures. He writes movingly of recovering his faith while in the Senate, and deplores the hyper-partisanship that has infected Washington.

Few books convey as convincingly as this one the life of public service like that which John Kerry has lived for fifty years. Every Day Is Extra shows Kerry for the dedicated, witty, and authentic man that he is, and provides forceful testimony for the importance of diplomacy and American leadership to address the increasingly complex challenges of a more globalized world.

 

Senate on Recess, See Pending @StateDept Nominations (as of August 4, 2018)

Posted: 4:40 pm PT

 

The U.S. Senate went on its summer recess on Wednesday, August 1. The senators will not be back until August 15. Nominees hoping the Senate would make a slew of confirmation before they head home for their break must be disappointed. Roll Call reports that the Senate will hold brief pro forma sessions only until Wednesday, Aug. 15. These sessions are not designed to include legislative business but will prevent President Trump from making recess appointments.

Even after the Senate returns to work in a couple of weeks, their tentative schedule does not leave a lot of time before the senators head home again to campaign. While some of these nominations will presumably get through the full Senate before November, we suspect that some will likely die in committee given the length of time they’ve been sitting there with no action.

Below is a run down of one confirmation we’ve missed (Poland), the nominations currently pending in the Executive Calendar (cleared by the SRFC/SSCI but awaiting their final vote in the Senate), and the nominations pending (some appears stuck) in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as of August 4, 2018.

CONFIRMATIONS

2018-07-12 PN1640  | Georgette Mosbacher, of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Poland.

PENDING ON THE EXECUTIVE CALENDAR

PN1708 | Kimberly Breier, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Western Hemisphere Affairs)

PN2030 Denise Natali, of New Jersey, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Conflict and Stabilization Operations).

PN2140 | Ellen E. McCarthy, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Intelligence and Research)

PN1768Kenneth S. George, of Texas, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.

PN1942 | Randy W. Berry, of Colorado, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.

PN2028 | Donald Lu, of California, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kyrgyz Republic.

PN2031 | Alaina B. Teplitz, of Colorado, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Maldives.

PN1638 | Joseph Cella, of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Fiji, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Nauru, the Kingdom of Tonga, and Tuvalu.

PN1762 | Stephen Akard, of Indiana, to be Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, with the rank of Ambassador.

PN1447 | Jackie Wolcott, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the International Atomic Energy Agency, with the rank of Ambassador.

PN1448 | Jackie Wolcott, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Vienna Office of the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador.

PN2019 | Cherith Norman Chalet, of New Jersey, to be Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform, with the rank of Ambassador.

PN2020 | Cherith Norman Chalet, of New Jersey, to be an Alternate Representative of the United States of America to the Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations, during her tenure of service as Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform.

PN2319 | Nominations beginning Philip S. Goldberg, and ending Daniel Bennett Smith, which 4 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on July 18, 2018.

PN2132 | Nomination for Jason Alexander, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on June 11, 2018.

PN1802-2 | Nomination for Maureen A. Shauket, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

PN1802-1 | Nomination for Peter A. Malnak, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

PN1801-1 | Nominations beginning Sandillo Banerjee, and ending Robert Peaslee, which 4 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

PN1800-2 | Nomination for Tanya S. Urquieta, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

PN1800-1 | Nominations beginning Polly Catherine Dunford-Zahar, and ending William M. Patterson, which 12 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

PN1800-1 | Nominations beginning Polly Catherine Dunford-Zahar, and ending William M. Patterson, which 12 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

PN1743 | Nominations beginning Michael Calvert, and ending Marvin Smith, which 27 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on March 12, 2018.

PENDING IN COMMITTEE

STATE DEPARTMENT

2018-07-18 PN2276 |  David Hale, of New Jersey, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to be an Under Secretary of State (Political Affairs).

2018-06-18 PN2139 | Brian J. Bulatao, of Texas, to be an Under Secretary of State (Management).

2018-07-09 PN2236 | John Cotton Richmond, of Virginia, to be Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking, with the rank of Ambassador at Large.

2018-07-09 PN2232 | R. Clarke Cooper, of Florida, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Political-Military Affairs). Note: Aug 1 WaPo report notes that Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) informed R. Clarke Cooper, who is nominated as the next assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, that he would be objecting to his confirmation until the administration reverses its policy. Cooper would have authority over the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, the government office that reached a settlement with Defense Distributed that would have allowed it to post the blueprints.

2018-06-25 PN2207 | Robert A. Destro, of Virginia, to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

2018-05-24 PN2029 | Ronald Mortensen, of Utah, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Population, Refugees, and Migration).

2018-04-09 PN1769 | David Schenker, of New Jersey, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Near Eastern Affairs).

2018-01-08 PN1386 | Susan A. Thornton, of Maine, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (East Asian and Pacific Affairs). (Note: Nominee retired as of June 30, 2018)

AMBASSADOR NOMINEES

2018-07-31 PN2351 | Adrian Zuckerman, of New Jersey, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Romania.

2018-07-31 PN2350 | Lucy Tamlyn, of New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Central African Republic.

2018-07-31 PN2349 | Judy Rising Reinke, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Montenegro.

2018-07-23 PN2324 | Earl Robert Miller, of Michigan, 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 People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

2018-07-18 PN2278 | Donald Y. Yamamoto, of Washington, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federal Republic of Somalia.

2018-07-17 PN2267 | Kevin K. Sullivan, of Ohio, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Nicaragua.

2018-07-09 PN2239 | Karen L. Williams, of Missouri, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Suriname.

2018-07-09 PN2238 | Stephanie Sanders Sullivan, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Ghana.

2018-07-09 PN2237 | Daniel N. Rosenblum, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Executive Service, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Uzbekistan.

2018-07-09 PN2235 | Francisco Luis Palmieri, of Connecticut, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Honduras.

2018-07-09 PN2234 | Philip S. Kosnett, 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 Kosovo.

2018-07-09 PN2233 | Kathleen Ann Kavalec, of California, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Albania.

2018-06-25 PN2208 | Dereck J. Hogan, 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 Moldova.

2018-06-25 PN2206 |  Lynda Blanchard, of Alabama, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Slovenia.

2018-06-20 PN2172 | Michael A. Hammer, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

2018-05-24 PN2032 | Christine J. Toretti, of Pennsylvania, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Malta.

2018-05-21 PN2022 | Donald R. Tapia, of Arizona, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Jamaica.

2018-05-21 PN2021 | John Rakolta, Jr., of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the United Arab Emirates.

2018-05-10 PN1943 | Kyle McCarter, of Illinois, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Kenya.

2018-01-08 PN1384 | Doug Manchester, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

2018-01-08 PN1379 | Leandro Rizzuto, of New Jersey, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Barbados, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

2018-01-08 PN1376 | Andrew M. Gellert, of New Jersey, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Chile.

2017-12-01 PN1290 | David T. Fischer, of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Morocco.

INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

2018-07-18 PN2277  | UNFAO – Kip Tom, of Indiana, for the rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service as U.S. Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture.

2018-04-12 PN1824 International Monetary Fund | Mark Rosen, of Connecticut, to be United States Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund for a term of two years.

USAID

2018-06-28 PN2223 | Michael T. Harvey, of Texas, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

2018-06-20 PN2178 | Mark Montgomery, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

2018-04-12 PN1823 | Bonnie Glick, of Maryland, to be Deputy Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

FS LISTS

2018-07-31 PN2371 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Ami J. Abou-Bakr, and ending Emily Yu, which 71 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on July 31, 2018.

2018-07-31 PN2370 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning James Robert Adams, and ending Christopher M. Zveare, which 171 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on July 31, 2018.

2018-07-31 PN2369 Foreign Service | Nomination for Daniel Mark Smolka, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on July 31, 2018.

2018-06-11 PN2131 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Michael Ashkouri, and ending Omar Robles, which 5 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on June 11, 2018.

2018-04-09 PN1801-2 Foreign Service | Nomination for Dao Le, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

2018-03-12 PN1744-4 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Keisha L. Effiom, and ending Robin Sharma, which 2 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on March 12, 2018.

Broadcasting Board of Governors

2018-06-04 PN2052  | Michael Pack, of Maryland, to be Chief Executive Officer of the Broadcasting Board of Governors for the term of three years.

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Opposition For Trump’s Nominee as @StateDept’s Refugee Chief Gets Louder

Posted: 2:26 pm PT

 

On May 24, the White House announced the nomination of former FSO Ronald Mortensen to be the Assistant Secretary of State for the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).

The WH released a brief bio:

Dr. Mortensen is a retired Foreign Service Officer.  For the past 15 years, he has worked with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA).  Dr. Mortensen served at U.S. diplomatic missions in France, Australia, Canada, Gabon, Mauritania and Chad.  He has worked on humanitarian responses that saved lives and alleviated the suffering of millions of people in Iraq, Syria, Mali, Libya, Haiti, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Pakistan, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and many other countries in West Africa.  Most recently, Dr. Mortensen served as Disaster Assistance Response Team leader in Iraq.  Dr. Mortensen is the recipient of numerous Department of State (State) and USAID awards including the Una Chapman Cox Fellowship.  He is a Vietnam era, Air Force veteran.  Dr. Mortensen earned two B.S. degrees and a Ph.D. from the University of Utah and an M.A. from the University of Oklahoma.  He speaks French.

According to the brief bio released, Mr. Mortensen is a retired Foreign Service Officer who also did work for USAID/OFDA.  A source told us he was an FSO from 1977 to 1996. The Una Chapman website confirms that he was one of the two recipients of the Una Chapman Cox Sabbatical Leave Fellowship in 1991. This fellowship is available to Foreign Service employees (Generalists and Specialists), for Grade FS-01 and FS-02 in any career track. There is speculation that he was on the administrative career track given the work that he did for USAID following his retirement from the Foreign Service. Click here for more of that from Jeremy Konyndyk who led USAID’s  Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance from 2013 to 2017.

In September 2017, the State Department’s blog, DipNote reblogged a USAID post highlighting “a few of the amazing humanitarians who are this year’s winners of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal in the category of National Security and International Affairs.” The blogpost includes Mr. Mortensen who it says “served as the DART Leader in Iraq five times over the past two-and-a-half years.”  USAID’s original post is here: And the Oscar for Public Service goes to…USAID!

The Utah Standard News where Mr. Mortensen is described as “an earlier supporter and long-time columnist” has a more detailed background and links to the nominee’s position as a “a staunch advocate against illegal immigration.

The Mortensen nomination was submitted  to the Senate on May 24 and is still pending in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as of this writing.  We do not expect this administration known for doubling down on controversial issues to withdraw this controversial nomination. Even if this nomination manages to make it through the SFRC, where the split is 11 v. 10, it may end up not going anywhere. The GOP currently has a slim Senate majority at GOP 51 v. 49 (Dems 47, Ind 2); one GOP senator (McCain) has already asked for the withdrawal of this nomination, and a second one (Flake) is on the record for not supporting this nominee.  That said, strange things are happening these days, so we can’t really say when a nomination is dead until it is dead. And even then, some nominations will presumably come back as zombies next January if the President renominates them.

BONUS CLIP:

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WH’s Pick For Barbados Ambassadorship “Should Feel Free to Put on His Tinfoil Hat” Sez @SenSasse Spox

Posted: 1:08 am ET
 

 

The WH announced the Rizzuto nomination early last month (see Prominent Businessman Leandro Rizzuto Jr to be Ambassador to Barbados, But Wait – #ForgotSomething?). Now CNN’s @KFILE has a piece about the nominee’s um … colorful Twitter history. Senator Cruz’s wife Heidi is an architect of the North American Union? Whoa-ha-ha! Who knew about the NAU? We’d like a job there as long as we’re posted in Canada.

GOP Senator Ben Sasse’s spox released a statement saying the nominee “should feel free to put on his tinfoil hat and visit our office with evidence for his salacious conspiracy theories and cuckoo allegations.” Oh, wow! Is he just saying that, and then the Senator will later vote to confirm the nominee? As of this writing, the SFRC does not have a schedule for Mr. Rizzuto’s confirmation hearing.  But we should be ready with the popcorn, anyway.  There will be a hearing, unless he withdraw his name for consideration, which happens with more frequency these days by the way, but it’s not a bad thing, really. Or he doesn’t, and then there will be a cliffhanger on whether he gets the Barbados post or not. It’ll be a ratings bonanza.

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