Writing in Forbes.com last week, Professor Charles Tiefer discussed President-elect Donald Trump’s picks for United Nations ambassador and White House counsel – and found both completely unsuited for the positions.
Trump’s choice of Nikki Haley as ambassador to the United Nations shows Trump’s “contempt” for conducting foreign affairs through the UN and for multilateral organizations in general, Tiefer said.
Haley, a former South Carolina governor and legislator, has no experience in foreign affairs or national security matters, Tiefer noted: “Look at biographies of her and you find she is a cipher on foreign affairs. Of course. Foreign affairs does not come up in the South Carolina state legislature. Foreign affairs does not come up for a South Carolina governor.”
Trump’s choice of Haley, who was born into a Sikh family, was simply a “throw-away for a visible symbol of his supposed inclusiveness,” Tiefer said.
Read “Trump’s Choice of Nikki Haley Is a Slap to the U.N. and Pandering to Asian-Americans” (Nov. 23, 2016).
Tiefer also minced no words in his assessment of Donald McGahn, Trump’s pick for White House counsel. Even though Trump’s manifold business interests pose conflict-of-interest challenges, Trump appointed as counsel a “totally partisan politico, more like a consiglieri to the Godfather than a source of sound ethical counsel.”
McGahn is a far cry from John Dean, President Richard Nixon’s White House counsel, Tiefer said: “[T]here came a time when [Dean] warned Nixon that Watergate was a cancer on the Presidency. He came clean with Congress and the prosecutors. Since then he has become a widely respected author and commentator. One can be Dean’s type and at some point go straight and tell the President what he should do to be honest. Or, one can be McGahn’s type.”
Tiefer was general counsel (acting) of the House of Representatives, serving 15 years in that office and in its Senate counterpart, before he began teaching at UB in the mid-1990s. He is a regular contributor to Forbes.com.