BREAKING: State Department source tells me Trump considering disgraced ex-Fox News boss Roger Ailes for Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) December 13, 2016
Is this legit? Cunningham notes that the position is a real one -- and one that requires Senate confirmation. Here's the State Department's description of the job:
The mission of American public diplomacy is to support the achievement of U.S. foreign policy goals and objectives, advance national interests, and enhance national security by informing and influencing foreign publics and by expanding and strengthening the relationship between the people and Government of the United States and citizens of the rest of the world.So the guy who built a TV network that regularly tells us all terrorists are Muslims, Europe is a socialist hellhole, and many large cities in the West are full of "no-go zones" where non-Muslims can't go is under consideration to be in charge of international outreach and communications programs run by the U.S. government? Not to mention in charge of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which oversees not only Fulbright scholarships and an exchange program for foreign high school students but a global women's empowerment initiative?
[The] Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs leads America's public diplomacy outreach, which includes messaging to counter terrorism and violent extremism. The Under Secretary oversees the bureaus of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Public Affairs, and International Information Programs, as well as the Global Engagement Center, and participates in foreign policy development.
Ailes, if appointed, would be the fifth man in the Trump administration to be accused of assaulting women:
Shortly after [the] announcement that Donald Trump would nominate Carl's Jr./Hardee's CEO Andy Puzder to lead the Labor Department, St. Louis' Riverfront Times noted that Puzder's now-ex-wife Lisa Henning had accused him, in a 1980s divorce filing, of physically abusing her on two occasions....It was announced just today that Ailes is facing yet another sexual harassment lawsuit:
Puzder ... is not the only member of Trump's inner circle to have been accused of assaulting one or more women. Adviser and former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was charged, though not ultimately prosecuted, for grabbing and pulling reporter Michelle Fields' arm after a March press conference.... Top White House adviser Steve Bannon ... was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence against his now-ex-wife in 1996 after police responded to an incident in which she alleged that he grabbed her roughly and tried to pull her into a car. An officer wrote at the time that he had observed "red marks on [Bannon's wife's] left wrist and the right side of her neck." The charge was later dropped when the woman declined to testify in court.
And, of course, Donald Trump himself has been accused of sexually assaulting at least 14 women.
On Tuesday, Lidia Curanaj, now a Fox 5 reporter whose legal name is Lidija Ujkic, filed a 28-page discrimination and hostile work environment suit against the network’s parent company, in which she said Mr. Ailes harassed her when she was applying for a job at Fox News....Was this job rumor floated as a favor to Ailes, on a day when we learned he's being sued again? If so, even that is obnoxious -- anyone who feels sorry for Ailes and thinks it would be a nice gesture to give him some good publicity at this time is feeling sorry for a disgusting human being.
Ms. Curanaj believed that she did not “receive the position at F.N.C. because Ailes determined that she would not submit to him sexually,” the suit states....
The allegations in the suit echo claims by several other current and former Fox News employees suggest sexual harassment was a persistent problem in the workplace. In July, Gretchen Carlson, a former Fox News anchor, filed suit against Mr. Ailes, saying that she was forced out of the network after she refused his sexual advances. A subsequent internal investigation found more than 20 claims of inappropriate behavior involving him, including that he offered to help advance women’s careers in exchange for sexual favors.
And if this is a legitimate story and Trump intends to go through with the appointment, then shame on any senator who votes to approve Ailes. At that point, we'll know there are no limits. Though with Trump as president-elect, I guess we already know that.
UPDATE: Via Mediaite, Hasan followed up:
Snr State Dept official to me: Trump "testing the waters to see how these appointments go" before releasing Roger Ailes name for a State job— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) December 13, 2016
Hope Hicks on whether there's any truth to report that Roger Ailes is under consideration for State Dept. post: "Not a shred"— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) December 13, 2016
Trump spox says Roger Ailes is not being considered for Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy.— Michael Calderone (@mlcalderone) December 13, 2016
I guess that settles that -- unless the story changes.