Champion of US Diplomacy Announces Political Donor to be Principal Officer at US Consulate General Bermuda

Updated 1135 am PDT

On January 2018, we posted about the nomination of Leandro Rizzuto to be U.S. Ambassador to Barbados (Prominent Businessman Leandro Rizzuto Jr to be Ambassador to Barbados, But Wait – #ForgotSomething?). The nomination was not acted by the Senate and was resubmitted for renomination by the White House in 2019 (see White House Submits Some @StateDept/Related Agencies Re-nominations to the Senate). This nomination was sent to a GOP majority Senate in the 115th Congress and the 116th Congress with no action from the Senate.  The last actions according to congress.gov for PN136:
01/16/2019: Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations
01/03/2020: Returned to the President under the provisions of Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6 of the Standing Rules of the Senate;
On May 27, 2020, Mr. Pompeo announced the appointment of Lee Rizzuto to be the next Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Bermuda, a post typically held by career diplomats. Actually, we could not recall a political  appointee at this level in more than a decade of blogging. This position does not require Senate confirmation, which means, they could chuck out the current consul general this week and have this guy packed out and  sent down to the island before the month is over.
Foggy Bottom’s top champion of diplomacy strikes again!
According to its website, “the American Consulate General in Hamilton plays an integral role in Bermuda’s political, social and cultural communities.  The main office is located at “Crown Hill,” a historic property, just outside the city of Hamilton, that is owned by the US Government.  Approximately 40 employees, including the Consul General, Deputy Principal Officer, Consul, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Port Director and officers are assigned to the Consulate General.”
Updated: We understand that the Reagan Administration started the tradition of a political appointee in Bermuda (Thanks K!). In December 1981, Max L. Friedersdorf an assistant to the President for legislative affairs resigned and was announced simultaneously as the next consul general to Bermuda, “a post that usually goes to career Foreign Service employees rather than to political appointees.” 
In 2005, George W. Bush appointed Gregory Slayton as U.S. Consul General to Bermuda (Thanks K2). He was sworn in by United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on August 15, 2005.
Note that Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. That’s right. The U.S. Consulate General in Hamilton is part of the United States Mission to the United Kingdom.
Anyone told Mr. Rizzuto, a billionaire that he will be reporting to another billionaire, Ambassador Robert Wood Johnson in London?
Also quick question, once Pompeo is done installing a political donor to USCG Hamilton, which post is next? The U.S. Virtual Presence Post in Wales may also be available. For the record, there are 75 more consulates general in the U.S. Foreign Service, and there are still 160 days till election day.
Related posts:

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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Prominent Businessman Leandro Rizzuto Jr to be Ambassador to Barbados, But Wait – #ForgotSomething?

Posted: 12:21 am ET
Updated: Jan 8/18, 7:29 pm PT

 

Update: On January 8, one of the nominations sent by the White House to the Senate was that of Leandro Rizzuto as Ambassador to Barbados and six other counties in the Eastern Carribean, so that answers our questions:

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.

On January 4, the White House announced the President’s intent to nominate Leandro Rizzuto as the next Ambassador to Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia.  The White House released the following brief bio.  Note that Leandro Rizzuto, the founder of Conair died Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017; the son named Leandro Rizzuto, Jr. is the nominee. Confusion could have been avoided had the White House did this announcement correctly.

Leandro Rizzuto of Florida, 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 America to St. Kitts and Nevis and to Saint Lucia.  Mr. Rizzuto, a prominent businessman, is past Chairman of the Professional Beauty Association (PBA).  He has been Director of North American Beauty Events since 2005, the producer of Cosmoprof NA—America’s largest B2B Beauty Show—creator and publisher of “Style Source Magazine.”  For over 30 years, he helped build his family’s business, Conair, into one of the largest private companies in the United States, with offices in Asia, Europe, Australia, and Latin America.  At Conair, he was Senior Vice President for Professional Global Business Units and had increased sales from $25 million to $300 million and was credited with over 25 United States patents.  Mr. Rizzuto attended Arizona State University, where he majored in marketing.

Note that the announcement only mentions service as Ambassador to Barbados, and concurrent service to St. Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia. The Chief of Mission to the US Embassy Barbados is traditionally accredited to six other countries in the Eastern Carribean: Antigua / BarbudaDominicaGrenadaSt. Kitts and NevisSt. Lucia and St. Vincent / Grenadines. A couple quick questions to WHA folks: 1) Is the Administration planning on nominating a separate individual to be accredited to the four countries not listed in this announcement? and 2) Do you know that we have a Principal Officer assigned at the US Embassy in Grenada? When did that happen?

Our previous posts on Barbados:

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