President Obama on Tuesday appointed deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, part of a slew of appointments given to high-profile staff and supporters in the final days of his presidency.
Rhodes, whose mother is Jewish, played a key role in shaping Obama’s foreign policy during his eight years in the White House.
He also came under fire from some U.S. Jewish groups for his role in selling the Iran nuclear deal and the administration’s decision to allow a resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity to pass the U.N. Security Council.
Congress created the council in 1980 to boost awareness of the Nazi genocide and raise money for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
Presidential appointees serve five-year terms and make up some of the 68-member board, which also includes lawmakers and Cabinet officials.
The president also named senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and national security adviser Susan Rice to the Kennedy Center board of trustees.
The postings, made in the final days of Obama’s presidency, are something of a parting gift to longtime staff and supporters.
Rhodes, Jarrett and Rice all served in the White House throughout Obama’s entire presidency.
Kristie Canegallo, another longtime staffer, was selected as a member of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.
Several athletes whom Obama is close with or admires earned spots on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, including Hall of Fame basketball player Kareem Abdul Jabbar, U.S. women’s soccer player Carli Lloyd and Olympic gymnast Gabrielle Douglas.