A former senior Capitol Hill aide with deep working knowledge of U.S. and Colombia relations going back more than a decade told Big League Politics Joseph E. Macmanus is the wrong man to become the next American ambassador to that troubled Central American country.
“The title he had was Executive Assistant, which does not sound like much, but he was Hillary Clinton’s right-hand person, right along with Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin,” said the Capitol Hill insider, who asked to remain anonymous in order to protect relationships. ”
As the senior professional aide to Clinton at the State Department, Macmanus traveled with the secretary and managed her personal staff and office.
The post of Ambassador to Colombia has been traditionally reserved for career Foreign Service officers and it is considered a capstone assignment because it is the third largest embassy in the world because of the joint military and drug enforcement operations conducted between the two countries, the source said.
On Capitol Hill, Republicans, such as Texas’ Sen. R. Edward. “Ted” Cruz Jr. and Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio have come out against Macmanus, and they were joined by Sen. Michael S. Lee (R.-Utah) Tuesday.
“I was extremely disappointed to learn that Joseph Macmanus has been nominated to become the United States ambassador to Colombia,” Lee said.
“At a time when we should be cleaning up the State Department and realigning our foreign-policy priorities to reflect those of the current administration, an Obama-era diplomat is not the right person to head our embassy in Colombia, a critical U.S. ally in the region,” he said.
Macmanus is a career Foreign Service officer, going back to his first assignment under President Ronald W. Reagan and a committed liberal, who was always more comfortable with Democratic administrations, the source said.
During his time at the Clinton’s State Department, Macmanus was actively involved in the public response to the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks on American personnel and facilities at Benghazi, Libya. In his emails to Clinton and her staff, he was central to creating the narrative that blamed the attack on a spontaneous reaction to an offensive YouTube video. That narrative was not supported by the facts and if later became clear that not one person believed it, even as it was being put out to the public.
Three days after President Barack Obama was elected to his second term, Macmanus became the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Vienna and to the International Atomic Energy Agency with day-to-day responsibility for what became known as the “Iran Deal.”
At his swearing-in ceremony remarks, Macmanus expressed his admiration for Clinton and her leadership and guidance, and he closed with warm words for the secretary troika of confidantes, who were central to her handling of her private email scandal and her 2016 campaign for the White House.
“Finally, a special word of gratitude and farewell to Cheryl Mills, to Huma Abedin and to Jake Sullivan,” he said. “It was a challenge to keep up with you and it was always a success to get a work in edgewise and what a benefit you were to me and my work.” Then, pointing at Clinton:”It was always intended for the same good cause.”
The Iran Deal has been a target of President Donald J. Trump all during his campaign and throughout his presidency.
Iran was on its last legs and ready to collapse until the U.S. came along and gave it a life-line in the form of the Iran Deal: $150 billion
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
In October, the president threatened to withdraw completely from the Iran Deal Macmanus negotiated.
Here is a video of Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton at the Nov. 6, 2012 swearing-in ceremony: