During Thanksgiving break, President Donald Trump picked Joseph MacManus to be the ambassador to Colombia. The thing is… he’s a former throwback to now-former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Two major GOP senators, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, wasted no time voicing concerns about this latest move as he was very close to Hillary Clinton and feel that he may not be the best pick to service the “America First” agenda set forth by Trump.
As one of Clinton’s closest advisers, MacManus also was deeply involved in the State Department’s initial response to the Benghazi attack and became entangled in the scandal over Clinton’s use of a private email account, the senators argued.
MacManus also recently rebuffed Cruz, Lee, and four other conservative GOP senators who asked for an investigation into whether the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development were using taxpayer dollars to support liberal causes funded by George Soros that the senators view as having no clear national-security interest.
The senators cited several Soros-funded projects, including one in Colombia in which USAID funds support a Soros-owned media portal that has criticized Trump, capitalism, and “patriarchal society.”
One expert on U.S.-Colombia relations who requested anonymity called the MacManus nomination “profoundly disappointing” and said it showed that Trump is “actually filling and promoting” the swamp instead of draining it.
“The MacManus nomination was Tom Shannon’s choice all the way and shows the State Department bureaucrats are running roughshod over the White House political team who frankly ought to be embarrassed for allowing the nomination to be made,” the source said.
“We can only hope that Sens. Cruz, Lee and [Marco] Rubio [of Florida] block his nomination,” the source added.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
The U.S. diplomatic post in Bogota carries new strategic importance given allegations of noncompliance of a historic peace accord signed in December between the Colombian government and FARC rebels.
However, over the last month the Trump administration has sent mixed signals about U.S.-led efforts to curb Colombia’s cocaine production, critics say.