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  • Director of the Indian Health Service: Who Is Robert Weaver?

    Monday, October 23, 2017
    President Trump has nominated an insurance broker to lead the Indian Health Service, an agency usually overseen by medical professionals because it is a provider of health services. The nominee, Robert Weaver, published a 2017 paper that criticized the Affordable Care Act, while lauding its benefits for Native Americans that he urged be kept. He said that "health insurance will improve for Americans in general under the replacement plan.” Of course, no such plan had been published at that time.   read more
  • Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): Who Is Jim Bridenstine?

    Monday, September 18, 2017
    Although Bridenstine has a sincere interest in space and NASA, his extreme right-wing views, including climate change denial, have drawn criticism from scientists and even politicians from his own party. A backer of Donald Trump for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, he lobbied for a job in the new administration after the election and positioned himself for the NASA nomination. He deleted most of the social media posts, many containing speeches denying climate change, made by his campaign.   read more
  • United States Ambassador to Zambia: Who Is Dan Foote?

    Sunday, September 17, 2017
    In 2010, Foote was in Colombia as director of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) section in that country. In Afghanistan he served as coordinating director at the embassy, where he managed U.S. civilian foreign assistance and law enforcement activities. In 2015, he returned to Washington as a deputy assistant secretary for INL to oversee its activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in addition to its Office of Anticrime Programs.   read more
  • Administrator of the General Services Administration: Who Is Emily W. Murphy?

    Friday, September 15, 2017
    President Trump may hope he can rely on Murphy's lifelong GOP partisanship to stymie a GSA Inspector General probe into his company’s GSA lease for the building where the Washington Trump Hotel is located. In March, GSA exempted Trump from being in violation of a lease provision, a decision called “unbelievable” by two prominent law professors. Since January, Murphy has served as White House liaison to GSA but it's not known whether she had any input on the Trump Hotel GSA lease decision.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti: Who Is Larry André, Jr.?

    Thursday, September 14, 2017
    André’s first experience in Africa came courtesy not of the State Dept, but of the Peace Corps, which sent him to work as a volunteer in Senegal from 1983 to 1985. He returned to Africa to work on a refugee resettlement project in Chad from 1988 to 1990, then joined the Foreign Service for postings in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Bangladesh. At the State Dept, André served as deputy director of the Office of West African Affairs in the Bureau of African Affairs and also worked briefly in Iraq in 2005.   read more
  • Director of the Office of Personnel Management: Who Is Jeff T. H. Pon?

    Wednesday, September 13, 2017
    Pon served in the White House Office of Public Liaison during the final year of the George H. W. Bush administration, and worked for such corporations as Federal Express, PetCo and Burger King. In 2003 he joined OPM, focusing on modernizing the federal government’s personnel practices, including helping to lead the rollout of USAJobs. Pon left OPM in 2006 to serve as chief human capital officer at the Department of Energy. He left the agency in 2008 to join mega-contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.   read more
  • Chairman of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars: Who Is Fred Malek?

    Tuesday, September 12, 2017
    In 1970, Malek was named special assistant to President Richard Nixon. Afraid that Jews working in BLS were making him look bad with unemployment statistics, Nixon told Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman, “We’ve got to get a man in charge who is not Jewish to control the Jewish … do you understand?” Haldeman gave the job to Malek, who came back with a list of BLS employees with “Jewish-sounding” names, some of whom were demoted. The "Jew counting" scandal came back to haunt Malek in later years.   read more
  • Maldives’ Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Ali Naseer Mohamed

    Monday, September 11, 2017
    As assistant director in the Dept of External Resources, in 2004 Mohamed coordinated global relief efforts in Maldives for the aftermath of the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in 2015, he said his government rejected freedom of religion for its citizens, as well as LGBT and non-traditional forms of families. Representing a low-lying island nation, his focus in foreign relations has been to urge other nations to cooperate to reduce global warming.   read more
  • Ambassador of Russia to the United States: Who Is Anatoly Antonov?

    Sunday, September 10, 2017
    Since 2011, Antonov has emerged as a vocal proponent of Russia’s increasingly aggressive foreign policy. Known as a “bull terrier,” he accused the West of waging an “information war” against Russia. He said the West masterminded the ouster of Ukraine’s pro-Russia president in 2014 to “contain” Russia by making Ukraine into a “frontline of confrontation.” He also helped plan Russia’s invasion and annexation of the Crimea, as well as Russia’s support for pro-Russian militias in Ukraine.   read more
  • Tuvalu’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Samuelu Laloniu?

    Friday, September 08, 2017
    In 2015, Laloniu served as Tuvalu’s first high commissioner in New Zealand. As a diplomat from an island nation, he applauded the U.S. agreement to the Paris Climate Accords. But now he'll be dealing with a U.S. administration that has pulled out of the accords, increasing odds of flooding in his country. "For Tuvalu...we are already suffering from climate and sea level rise," he said. "Living with fear and uncertainty on a daily basis is not our normal way of life nor should it be anybody’s.”   read more
  • Bahrain’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Abdullah bin Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa?

    Thursday, September 07, 2017
    Two years after being made head of educational affairs for the Royal Family Council, Al Khaifa. became director of education and the Social Affairs Directorate. In 2007, he was named director of planning and followup for the General Organization for Youth and Sports and the following year became the its human resources director. In 2010, Al Khalifa was appointed to a four-year term as governor of Bahrain’s Southern Governorate, the largest such political division.   read more
  • Ambassador of the Solomon Islands to the U.S.: Who Is Robert Sisilo?

    Wednesday, September 06, 2017
    While serving as his nation’s deputy secretary of foreign affairs in 1996, Sisilo was reportedly part of a government delegation that was briefly abducted at gunpoint by Papua New Guineans who had crossed into Solomon Islands territory. He later served as permanent representative of the Pacific Islands Forum, an organization comprised of 18 Pacific Island countries, to the World Trade Organization. From 2008 to 2010, he was acting secretary for foreign affairs and trade of neighboring Nauru.   read more
  • Ambassador of Ghana to the U.S.: Who Is Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah?

    Tuesday, September 05, 2017
    In 2000, Ghana's president appointed Adjei-Barwuah to a plum diplomatic post—ambassador to Japan, with concurrent accreditation to four other nations. Adjei-Barwuah served seven years in the post, leaving temporarily in 2007 to run for President of Ghana, and left permanently before the election, which he lost. Out of work, he was accused in 2009 of misappropriating funds donated by a Japanese chocolate firm. He denied the allegations and suffered no legal consequences.   read more
  • Slovenia’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Stanislav Vidovič?

    Monday, September 04, 2017
    As secretary general of Slovenia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vidovič negotiated a 2016 deal for Slovenia to gain control of six former Yugoslav diplomatic buildings in Brazil, Morocco, Tanzania and Mali that Slovenia was supposed to get under the terms of the 2001 accord specifying the terms of Yugoslavia’s breakup. Vidovič is one of the founding members of the SMC—Slovenia’s Modern Centre Party—a center-left organization. He is also Slovenia’s ambassador to Mexico.   read more
  • San Marino’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Damiano Beleffi?

    Sunday, September 03, 2017
    In 2001, Beleffi moved into the diplomatic world as deputy permanent representative to the Council of Europe, which works to uphold human rights, democracy, rule of law in Europe and promote European culture. Beleffi was named ambassador to Germany in 2007. In 2008, he added the post of deputy permanent representative to the United Nations to his portfolio and in 2011 was additionally named ambassador to Canada.   read more
  • Ambassador to Spain and Andorra: Who Is Duke Buchan?

    Friday, September 01, 2017
    A longtime Republican, Buchan backed Trump for president after other GOP candidacies imploded. He co-hosted a $25,000-a-person fundraiser at the home of future Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross so donors could meet Trump and RNC Chairman Priebus. Buchan and his wife donated $898,000 to Trump Victory, accompanied Trump to rallies, the Republican Convention, and all three presidential debates. On inauguration day, they attended church with Trump and sat nearby as he was sworn-in as president.   read more
  • Suriname’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Niermala Badrising?

    Thursday, August 31, 2017
    Badrising joined Suriname’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1989, then moved to the office of Suriname’s president in 1998. She was senior adviser and chief coordinator for international affairs under three presidents. In 2010, she also served as assistant coordinator for free and fair elections. She came to Washington in 2011 as ambassador to the Organization of American States and represented Suriname at the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank.   read more
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