Development Experts Express Mixed Views On Mike Pompeo’s Nomination As Secretary Of State; Cabinet Shakeup Forces Congress To Cancel Budget Hearing, Shuffle Spring Schedule

Devex: Pompeo’s nomination carries risks, opportunity for U.S. development efforts
“On Tuesday, United States President Donald Trump announced — via tweet — that he is replacing Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo is the president’s nominee to take over leadership of America’s foreign affairs agencies. For a U.S. development community that has been largely disappointed by Tillerson’s tenure and approach, Pompeo’s rise represents both opportunity and risk. On one hand, aid experts who spoke to Devex welcomed the potential to see foreign affairs agencies led by someone with the ear of the president and who knows how to get things done in Washington. On the other hand, some expressed reservations that Pompeo will accelerate U.S. foreign aid’s ongoing drift towards harder-line policies and a security-first agenda. Nearly all of them agreed that replacing Tillerson with Pompeo will amount to a major leadership change with significant implications for the U.S. development community…” (Igoe, 3/14).

Reuters: Out in Africa? Tillerson trip leaves hosts nonplussed
“From the outset, Rex Tillerson’s first trip to Africa looked half-hearted and token, but with the hindsight knowledge that the U.S. Secretary of State was fired just two days in, his African hosts must be wondering why they bothered. … [T]he revelation from a senior White House official that Trump told Tillerson he was out of a job just two days into the six-day jaunt leaves little room for doubt about the Trump White House’s attitude towards the continent. Given its increasing reliance for aid and trade on China, its main commercial partner, and a recent diplomatic push led by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, the slight is likely to have real consequences for Washington’s status on the continent of a billion people…” (Cropley et al., 3/14).

Roll Call: Tillerson Termination Adds New Priorities to Senate Calendar
“…The Senate is scheduled to be in recess the last week of March and the first week of April for Passover and Easter. The next break would be the first week in May. Trump’s personnel moves mean that two of the six session weeks over the next two months could easily be consumed with the senior national security nominations. … Tillerson had been scheduled to testify Thursday before the Foreign Relations panel on the fiscal 2019 budget request as well as his reorganization plans, but that hearing was [cancelled]…” (Lesniewski, 3/14).

Wall Street Journal: ‘Rex, Eat the Salad’: Inside the Awkward Relationship Between Rex Tillerson and Donald Trump
“…A promise from Mr. Trump during the transition that Mr. Tillerson could pick his own staff almost immediately fell through. Nor was Mr. Tillerson a central part of the decision-making process on the White House’s original proposed travel ban or on expanding the so-called ‘Mexico City policy,’ … officials said. It was all a sharp change for an executive who was used to calling the shots at Exxon…” (Bender/Schwartz, 3/13).

Washington Post: Pompeo will face a host of foreign policy challenges if confirmed as secretary of state
“President Trump has chosen a new secretary of state, untested in diplomacy but more attuned to the president’s views and way of conducting foreign policy, at a time when the United States is facing an array of delicate and potentially dangerous national security challenges. Seeking what he called ‘a different mind-set, a different thinking,’ Trump said Tuesday that he was replacing the reserved and cautious Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a former House of Representatives firebrand with strong ‘America First’ and hard-line Republican credentials…” (DeYoung/Hudson, 3/13).

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