Trump Eyes Retired Diplomat for Top Africa Envoy Role

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration faces waves of critique for not scrupulously staffing a State Department, where dozens of comparison posts lay empty.

But as Rex Tillerson departs for his initial outing to Africa as secretary of state, Trump is eyeing appointing a late career diplomat to be subsequent partner secretary of state for African affairs, 4 sources tighten to a administration and former State Department officials tell Foreign Policy.

Tibor Nagy, a late unfamiliar use officer with over 3 decades of experience, is approaching to be nominated as partner secretary of state for African affairs as shortly as this month, sources say. It could give additional umph to a State Department’s purpose on a continent, that critics contend is loss with an deficiency of comparison appointees and ambassadorships, all while a U.S. military’s footprint is fast expanding to confront flourishing terrorism threats.

The news comes as Tillerson visits Africa for a weeklong debate of a continent, months after Trump triggered tactful dispute for reportedly pursuit African nations “shithole countries.”

Former officials contend Nagy, if nominated and confirmed, could send a much-needed vigilance that a State Department underneath Trump values maestro career diplomats. Nagy, whose family came to a United States from Hungary as domestic refugees in 1957, assimilated a unfamiliar use in 1978. He spent over dual decades in Africa as a unfamiliar use officer, including stints as envoy to Guinea from 1996 to 1999 and Ethiopia from 1999 to 2002.

After withdrawal a unfamiliar service, he went behind to work for his alma mater, Texas Tech University, where he recently late as clamp provost for general affairs.

“I consider it’s a good vigilance that they’re reaching behind to a former unfamiliar use officer,” says Linda Thomas-Greenfield, former partner secretary of state for African affairs, who had listened Nagy’s name floated for her aged job. “I usually wish they commission him to indeed do a job.”

A White House orator says they have no announcements on a position during this time. Nagy declined to critique when FP reached out to him.

Nagy might not have been a White House’s initial choice for a job. J. Peter Pham, an educational and author now during a Atlantic Council, a Washington-based consider tank, was on a shortlist to take a job. But a sole Republican senator, James Inhofe from Oklahoma, blocked his assignment over a feud on a standing of a doubtful Western Sahara segment in Morocco, as FP first reported.

Donald Yamamoto, a career diplomat, is now stuffing a purpose in an halt position.

Tillerson is slated to revisit Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Chad, and Nigeria this week, and he is approaching to concentration on counterterrorism, development, and boosting trade ties with a continent as China expands a change on a continent.

“Our country’s confidence and mercantile wealth are related with Africa’s like never before,” Tillerson pronounced in a debate during George Mason University on Tuesday before he embarked on his trip. He also announced a new $533 million assist package for areas wracked by fast and conflict, including Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and a Lake Chad Basin region. “This will save lives,” he said.

Beyond a new oath in aid, a outing appears to be a listening tour, comparison State Department officials indicate. “There’s unequivocally no deliverables,” a comparison State Department central told reporters on a call final week. “For a outing now, it’s unequivocally to underscore a joining of a United States to Africa, though also to try with a care in any of a countries about what we wish to grasp during a — together as partners though also in a altogether program.”

Some experts in Washington trust a outing is in partial a cleanup debate for Trump’s purported “shithole” comments in January, that incensed African leaders. “It is a good thing for a secretary of state to go to Africa, though a timing can usually be review as a greeting to President Trump’s terrible insult to a whole continent,” says Reuben Brigety, vanguard of George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and former U.S. envoy a African Union underneath President Barack Obama.

If Nagy’s assignment is put forth, it could assistance Tillerson inhibit flourishing critique from lawmakers and former officials that he is hollowing out a State Department.

Sen. Bob Menendez, a tip Democrat on a Senate unfamiliar family committee, pronounced on Monday a administration was opposition U.S. rendezvous in Africa with a “failure to scrupulously staff a Africa bureau, inadequate bill requests, miss of vital rendezvous with a continent, and bad interagency coordination.”

The State Department has regularly pushed behind opposite these forms of criticism, observant Tillerson has a cadre of gifted career diplomats stuffing a gaps in halt roles. “We have gifted career professionals portion in pivotal positions that are rarely able of advancing U.S interests in a African region,” State Department mouthpiece Heather Nauert writes in a matter to FP.

The State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs “continues to rise new and artistic approaches to tackle formidable challenges, and serve strengthen a United States’ partnership with a region,” she adds.

In a meantime, 8 African countries, including South Africa, a Central African Republic, and a Democratic Republic of Congo, still have no U.S. ambassadors in place.

Update, Mar 7, 2018: This essay was updated to mention a timeframe of a quote from a comparison State Department official.

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