Trump’s choice:Kyle McCarter moves closer to confirmation as US envoy to Kenya

Kyle McCarter, Donald Trump’s choice as the next US ambassador to Kenya. PHOTO | COURTESY | TWITTER

By KEVIN J. KELLEY

IN SUMMARY

Republican members of the committee unanimously favoured Mr McCarter’s nomination while nine of the 10 Democratic members voted against the Illinois state legislator.

Mr Trump’s choice, announced in March, has proved controversial.

Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee fired critical questions at Mr McCarter at a hearing in July.

 

Kyle McCarter, President Trump’s choice as the next US ambassador to Kenya, moved closer to securing that post on Thursday when a US Senate panel voted to support his nomination.

The Foreign Relations Committee endorsed Mr McCarter by a 12-9 vote.

Republican members of the committee unanimously favoured Mr McCarter’s nomination while nine of the 10 Democratic members voted against the Illinois state legislator.

The nomination now goes to the full 100-member Senate, which is expected to vote to confirm Mr McCarter as envoy to Kenya within the next few weeks.

CONTROVERSY

“I’m pleased it’s moving forward,” Mr McCarter said in a telephone interview on Friday. “It’s a very important post, and I am honoured to have been nominated by the president for it.”

Mr Trump’s choice, announced in March, has proved controversial.

Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee fired critical questions at Mr McCarter at a hearing in July.

Senator Tim Kaine, who ran for vice-president on the 2016 Democratic ticket headed by Hillary Clinton, expressed chagrin over a tweet Mr McCarter posted on the night of Mr Trump’s victory urging that Mrs Clinton be put in prison.

“How does a thought like that come into the brain of someone?” Sen Kaine asked Mr McCarter. “It seems so contrary to the values of a democratic society.”

Other Democrats on the panel took issue with Mr McCarter’s stated opposition to same-sex marriage and to the refugee policies of the Obama administration.

The nine Democrats who voted on Thursday against Mr McCarter’s nomination were clearly not swayed by the nominee’s apology for the tweet and his attempts to soften his stand on gay rights and refugee admissions.

But Mr McCarter did win the support of one prominent Democratic senator: Chris Coons, a leading member of the Foreign Relations subcommittee on Africa.

As a young man, Mr Coons worked as a volunteer in Kenya and studied at the University of Nairobi.

“I have great admiration for Senator Coons,” Mr McCarter said on Friday. “I view his support as a vote of confidence.”

Mr McCarter founded the Each One Feed One charity in Kenya and is a fluent Swahili speaker.

If confirmed, he will replace Ambassador Robert Godec who has held the Kenya post for nearly six years.

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