Trump names handbag designer as ambassador to South Africa

Trump names handbag designer as ambassador to South Africa
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpREAD: Transcript of James Comey's interview with House Republicans Klobuchar on 2020: ‘I do think you want voices from the Midwest’ Israel boycott fight roils Democrats in year-end spending debate MORE on Wednesday announced his nomination of Lana Marks, a handbag designer and Mar-a-Lago club member, to be his next U.S. ambassador to South Africa.

In a statement, the White House noted Marks's service on the Women’s Leadership Board at the Harvard Kennedy School, as well as her schooling in South Africa. Marks speaks Afrikaans and Xhosa, two of South Africa's 11 official languages, according to the release.

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CNN reported that Marks remains a member of Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, noting that her daughter was married at the location.

Marks's handbag line, CNN noted, features designs with skins from exotic animals, including ostriches and alligators.

Dozens of key State Department positions, including the South African envoy position, remained unfilled as of earlier this year.

Upon assuming the top job at the State Department, Secretary Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump to attend World Economic Forum in Davos for second straight year Pompeo to lead delegation to 'Trump of the Tropics' inauguration The Hill's Morning Report — No deal in sight as shutdown looms MORE pledged to reduce the number of vacancies within the department.

"This is a priority of his," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters in May. "He said that in his hearings on Capitol Hill, he said that to us privately, and I know he's alluded that to all of you publicly, as well."

Marks will need to be confirmed to the post in the Senate, where Republicans will still hold the majority.