On July 27, the WH announced the president’s intent to nominate retired US Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Germany. The WH released the following brief bio:
Colonel Douglas Macgregor, United States Army (Retired), of Pennsylvania, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federal Republic of Germany.
Colonel Douglas Macgregor is a decorated combat veteran, author, and a consultant. Colonel Macgregor is widely recognized as an expert on force design and grand strategy. He is a frequent radio and television commentator on national security affairs and his writings on military affairs have been influential in the transformation of United States ground forces, NATO, and the Israeli Defense Force.
During his military career, Colonel Macgregor worked in support of Ambassador Holbrooke’s team during the Proximity Talks in Dayton, Ohio. Later, he worked closely with senior military and political leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany as the Chief of Strategic Planning and, subsequently, as the Director of the Joint Operations Center at Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe, during the Kosovo Air Campaign.
Colonel Macgregor earned a B.S. degree from the United States Military Academy and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Virginia. He is the recipient of numerous awards from his military service, including the bronze star with “V” device for valor for his leadership under fire.
There are currently 75 nominations pending on the Executive Calendar; with 51 nominations pending in the SFRC. Of the 51 nominations, 17 are currently listed for consideration during the SFRC’s business meeting on July 29, as well as seven FS lists.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens with these nominations.
Senate calendar (PDF) indicates that the Senate will be in session August 3-7; Sept 8-25,30; Oct 1-9, then 2 weeks in November after the elections, and three weeks in December with December 18 as its target date of adjournment.
Even if political appointees get confirmed next week and are able to travel to post immediately, that leaves the new appointees with barely 20 weeks in office. They won’t even have six months to adjust to their new jobs, much less their new host country.
Trump has announced "his intent to nominate" retired Army colonel Douglas Macgregor as the next US ambassador to Germany. One of Macgregor's qualifications: He's a frequent Fox News guest… https://t.co/IttvXVBeKK
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) July 27, 2020
US President Donald Trump named retired army colonel Douglas Macgregor as ambassador to Germany. https://t.co/F1L39TnHNf
— DW News (@dwnews) July 28, 2020
What does the President’s nominee for Berlin think? Interesting interview with Colonel Douglas Macgregor on Two Failed Wars and Why He Supports Ron Paul for President | The Daily Bell https://t.co/kj5KXZ1z5z
— Wolfgang Ischinger (@ischinger) July 27, 2020
The Chinese foreign ministry has said the US requested its Houston consulate stop events and move employees out by July 24. Beijing also alleges the US confiscated and opened Chinese diplomatic pouches in October and June.
What is going on. https://t.co/mUAwDttrF8
— Emily Feng 冯哲芸 (@EmilyZFeng) July 22, 2020
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) July 22, 2020
BREAKING: The U.S. government abruptly ordered China to close its consulate in Houston in an “unprecedented escalation,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry says https://t.co/xjtt1DYCb4 pic.twitter.com/5I7jBHE2Mx
— Bloomberg Politics (@bpolitics) July 22, 2020
BREAKING — US abruptly ordered the closure of Chinese Consulate in Houston on July 21, China announces.
Chinese staff in Houston is videotaped of burning classified documents pic.twitter.com/yhh54n8LjC
— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) July 22, 2020
Houston officials say official documents are being burned in the courtyard of the Chinese Consulate, and first responders are not being allowed in to put out the fire. https://t.co/LQL0JAopXC
— FOX26Houston (@FOX26Houston) July 22, 2020
National Interest Exceptions for Certain Travelers from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland
Last Updated: July 16, 2020
Certain business travelers, investors, treaty traders, academics, and students may qualify for National Interest Exceptions under Presidential Proclamations (PPs) 9993 (Schengen Area) and 9996 (United Kingdom and Ireland). Qualified business and student travelers who are applying for or have valid visas or ESTA authorization may travel to the United States even as PPs 9993 and 9996 remain in effect.
Students traveling from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with valid F-1 and M-1 visas, do not need to seek a national interest exception to travel. Students from those areas who are traveling on a J-1 may contact the nearest embassy or consulate to initiate an exception request.The Department of State also continues to grant National Interest Exceptions for qualified travelers seeking to enter the United States for purposes related to humanitarian travel, public health response, and national security.
Granting national interest exceptions for this travel to the United States from the Schengen area, UK, and Ireland, will assist with the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and bolster key components of our transatlantic relationship.
We appreciate the transparency and concerted efforts of our European partners and allies to combat this pandemic and welcome the EU’s reciprocal action to allow key categories of essential travel to continue.
Also see: Exceptions to Presidential Proclamations (10014 & 10052) Suspending the Entry of Immigrants and Nonimmigrants Presenting a Risk to the United States Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak
The arrival of a new political appointee is spawning confusion and concern at USAID. Pete Marocco, who to date has held positions or details at the Departments of Defense, State and Commerce in the Trump administration, has now joined the aid agency. https://t.co/vd27YqXCyO
— POLITICO (@politico) July 8, 2020
As part of ongoing, cooperative U.S. engagement on the African continent, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Pete Marocco traveled to Ghana & Benin for bilateral engagements with African partners. pic.twitter.com/Ll1wvIBjbT
— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) February 20, 2020
DAS Pete Marocco spoke at @NDU_EDU & @INSSatNDU about the #Stabilization Assistance Review and effectively leveraging foreign assistance to stabilize conflict-affected areas in collaboration with @DOD and @USAID. #CSOatState pic.twitter.com/3VTUcarntp
— Denise Natali (@CSOAsstSec) April 9, 2019
Since Mina Chang's resignation, former colleagues, social acquaintances and government officials have reached out to @NBCNews, providing more information that helps explain how Chang made it into a senior US State Dept. post. https://t.co/RAPlpoSmfd
— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 30, 2019
Why does @StateDept issue statements like this? “International Students are Welcome in the U.S.”? Really? It’s like when they release statements praising the US treatment of refugees or claim America leads the world’s response to Covid-19. Why do this? To confuse historians? https://t.co/vzH0avchfU
— Nahal Toosi (@nahaltoosi) July 7, 2020
ICE is telling international students on F-1 and M-1 visas that if their school is doing online-only courses they must leave the country or transfer to a place with in-person instruction—or they'll be deemed in the US illegally and subject to deportation. https://t.co/O0T8QITNKG
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) July 6, 2020
This is bad. ICE just told students here on student visas that if their school is going online-only this fall, the students must depart the United States and cannot remain through the fall semester. https://t.co/8DteVzexLB pic.twitter.com/OfkWRKFZZE
— Aaron Reichlin-Melnick (@ReichlinMelnick) July 6, 2020
International student visas are at risk as schools switch to online classes.
— Bloomberg TV (@BloombergTV) July 7, 2020
Sonora state’s health minister Enrique Clausen: "It’s so important to implement the necessary measures to protect the health of Sonorans. And one of them, at this moment, has to be reducing the border crossings from the United States toward Mexico” https://t.co/j5lu9qIndQ
— Hunter Schwarz (@hunterschwarz) July 3, 2020
Five Americans who flew by private jet to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia were refused entry to Italy on Wednesday due to new EU travel restrictions on countries with high coronavirus infection rates, police say https://t.co/TleSwZWc8o
— CNN International (@cnni) July 3, 2020
US included on England's Covid-19 'red list' for travellers https://t.co/iNHsjfhVEx
— The Guardian (@guardian) July 3, 2020
— Mark Landler (@MarkLandler) July 3, 2020
#Iceland: On July 1 Iceland eased its travel ban to allow entry for citizens of some countries, but the US is not included. U.S citizens are not able to enter Iceland until further notice. See the announcement here: https://t.co/XdkFLfbzx7 https://t.co/QkcucRW0Gz pic.twitter.com/4ZvMJPgHuI
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) July 2, 2020
As expected, the EU will still ban US travelers* when it lifts international travel restrictions July 1.
*Countries can decide individually whether to implement that ban. Greece & Iceland previously said they’ll reopen to Americans, but who knows now. https://t.co/tHyzVa6kF5
— Kyle Potter (@kpottermn) June 26, 2020
Stunning fact: Not even one single developed country has >1000 COVID cases per day. We have >50,000 per day in the United States.
— Vincent Rajkumar (@VincentRK) July 3, 2020
Trump is turning US into the ‘Shithole Country’ he fears. His mindless nationalism has come to this: Americans are not welcome in Europe or Mexico. The numbers of US sick and dead inspire wonder, marvel, fear, anxiety all over the world
By @anneapplebaum https://t.co/4dGwkJZHDk
— Alfons López Tena (@alfonslopeztena) July 3, 2020
On May 15, the WH announced the president’s intent to nominate J. Mark Burkhalter, of Georgia, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Norway. The WH released the following brief bio:
Mr. Burkhalter is a Senior Advisor in the Public Policy and Regulation practice at Dentons U.S. LLP, and plays a significant role in Dentons’ public affairs and economic development initiatives in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Burkhalter represented the Atlanta suburbs of north Fulton County in the Georgia General Assembly for 18 years, where he focused on promoting economic development, business growth, and quality of life in the greater metropolitan Atlanta area. He left office as the Speaker Emeritus, having served as Speaker of the House and Speaker Pro Tempore.
Parallel to his government service, Mr. Burkhalter built a successful career in real estate development. He received his B.A. at the University of Georgia with a double major in German and Slavic Languages, and Global Studies/Political Science. He is conversant in German.
On July 2, WaPo reports that the nominee “did not disclose his involvement in the creation of a racist flier that distorted the features of a black politician in Georgia.”
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is urging the White House to withdraw the Burkhalter nomination.
The most recently confirmed U.S. Ambassador to Oslo , Kenneth J. Braithwaite became the 77th @SECNAV last May.
- Amb. Kenneth J. Braithwaite Presents His Credentials in Norway, Now Officially on #Olympics2018 Wager Feb 2018
- Retired Navy Rear Admiral Kenneth J. Braithwaite to be U.S. Ambassador to Norway Oct 2017
- George J. Tsunis’ nomination as U.S. Ambassador to Norway ends 2014
- Opposition to George J. Tsunis Nomination as Norway Ambassador Now a Social Media Campaign 2014
- Norwegian-Americans Petition For Withdrawal of Tsunis Nomination as Ambassador to Norway 2014
- US Embassy Oslo: Clueless on Norway, Murder Boards Next? 2014
Scoop: Trump's pick for ambassador to Norway did not disclose his involvement in the creation of a racist flier that distorted the features of a black politician in Georgia, darkened his features, gave him a large afro, prompted a libel suit 1/ https://t.co/WosgFSRHpo
— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) July 2, 2020
This morning, Sen. Menendez sent a letter to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows notifying him of the incident involving the nominee, Mark Burkhalter, and demanding that the nomination be immediately withdrawn. 3/ pic.twitter.com/itUVcb36Yr
— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) July 2, 2020
The man on the left is Gordon Joyner.
The man on the right is a caricature of Gordon Joyner (with big afro, uneven eyes, thicker lips and darker facial hair), fabricated by Trump's nominee to be ambassador to Norway, Mark Burkhalter.https://t.co/bL3Is5taNM pic.twitter.com/CGOXqOAaaH
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) July 2, 2020
.@SenatorMenendez is urging @WhiteHouse to withdraw Trump's pick for US ambassador to Norway because of the nominee's involvement in the creation of a racist campaign flyer in the 1990s and failure to disclose subsequent legal action associated with it. https://t.co/SBh36bDtpA
— Jennifer Hansler (@jmhansler) July 2, 2020
Via Just Security:
“…The past three years in the United States have witnessed a concentration of discretionary authority in the hands of the president, the dismantling of the federal government’s institutional resources, and a degeneration of policy and budgeting into a short-term horizon focusing exclusively on immediate political gain — and often on croneyist profit. We did not need to be inside the room with John Bolton to see how de-institutionalized governance and discretionary power yield a “caudillo” or despotic style that would reduce democracy to little more than a show, with the claim that elections are periodically held.
Across five key dimensions, the result is a loss of capacity and direction that future administrations will struggle to restore. The Trump administration’s assault on state competence, in favor of freewheeling dominance by individual executive discretion, threatens the United States with an erosion of democracy that echoes the populist cascade in Hungary, India, Turkey, Brazil, the Philippines — unfortunately, the list goes on.
…change in the very nature of political practice far exceeds any easily identified policy demarcations. We have begun to see the unwinding of modern America. The effects will not simply evaporate when Trump leaves office. Lasting damage has been done to public trust in democratic institutions, the status of news media, the respect for science and proof, and more. Putting our political culture and democratic system back together will require more than mere policy repair.”
Read in full below:
Comparative law scholar and historian: Trump’s damage to democratic institutions won't vanish when Trump leaves office.
— Just Security (@just_security) July 1, 2020
First, read the NYT article by @charlie_savage, @EricSchmittNYT, and @mschwirtz, with details about the reported Russian military intel unit behind this, the high-level USG discussions about responses, and the White House not authorizing any of them.
— David Priess (@DavidPriess) June 28, 2020
The administration’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, preferred confronting the Russians directly about the matter, while some National Security Council officials in charge of Russia were more dismissive of taking immediate action. https://t.co/VAFIn0Fn5m
— Adam Goldman (@adamgoldmanNYT) June 29, 2020
— Adam Goldman (@adamgoldmanNYT) June 29, 2020
— Eric Schmitt (@EricSchmittNYT) June 28, 2020
“While some of his closest advisers, like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have counseled more hawkish policies toward Russia, Mr. Trump has adopted an accommodating stance toward Moscow” https://t.co/KzxzaQKNfU
— Patrick Tucker (@DefTechPat) June 27, 2020