Secretary of Defense James Mattis lost the fight with the White House over his pick of retired diplomat Anne W. Patterson for the position of undersecretary for policy and has subsequently withdrawn her name.
The inevitable battle with the Senate over her confirmation simply wasn’t worth the trouble, as GOP Sens. Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton loudly signaled opposition to Patterson because of her tendentious history as U.S. ambassador to Egypt during the Obama administration, The Washington Post reports.
The Obama administration backed the government of then-Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood during her tenure as ambassador from 2011 to 2013.
The Department of State had to come to her public defense after she met with senior Muslim Brotherhood officials.
She denounced opposition to Morsi’s government as little more than “street protests” and put her faith in democracy, instead.
At the time, Cruz called the Obama administration’s positive stance towards Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood “one of the most stunning diplomatic failures in recent memory.”
In its support of Morsi, the Obama administration sold military hardware and sent over $250 million in foreign aid, all while Egypt’s Christian minority was starting to suffer an even graver fate at the hands of emboldened Islamists.
The Egyptian military overthrew Morsi in 2013, and much of the public turned against Patterson.
Given the loss of Patterson, it still remains the case that Trump hasn’t nominated a single high-ranking official in the Pentagon, aside from Mattis, even though his administration has been in play for two months now.
However, the White House hopes to announce numerous nominees this week, all proposed by Mattis, who has previously lost out on other picks like Michele Flournoy for deputy secretary, though Flournoy withdrew from discussions. Currently, that spot is occupied by Robert Work, the defense deputy under the Obama administration.
The Trump administration is thinking about designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Cruz has proposed a bill to this effect, which is why it’s unsurprising he was a vocal opponent of Patterson.
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