White House

Trump’s controversial pick for Colombia Ambassador gets confirmation hearing next week

President Donald Trump speaks in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018 in Washington, during a meeting with members of Congress to discuss school and community safety.
President Donald Trump speaks in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018 in Washington, during a meeting with members of Congress to discuss school and community safety. AP

President Donald Trump’s pick for Colombia ambassador has been scheduled for a Senate confirmation hearing on March 7 at 2:30 p.m.

Joseph Macmanus is a 30-year veteran of the Foreign Service who is currently an adviser to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The choice of Macmanus has created controversy, however, among conservatives who have sought to block his nomination. Their complaint: Macmanus’s connections to Hillary Clinton and the aftermath of the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

The scheduling of a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee sets up a potential battle between Macmanus and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fl., who is among Republicans raising concerns about the Macmanus nomination. Rubio and others say Macmanus played a role in spreading misinformation about the attacks in Benghazi, which focused heavily on then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s role in not acting fast enough to save embassy employees under attack.

Macmanus is an experienced diplomat who served under multiple administrations. He also worked as a top aide to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during the President George W. Bush administration. He also served twice as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs, from 2005 to 2008 and 2011 to 2012.

If confirmed, Macmanus would succeed career diplomat Kevin Whitaker, who was appointed chief of mission in Bogota in April 2014.

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