Trump’s NOAA pick withdraws, cites health
President Trump’s much-scrutinized pick to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Barry Myers, has withdrawn from consideration, citing health concerns.
The White House confirmed his withdrawal.
Myers’s nomination was first announced in November 2017 but has remained in limbo partly due to concerns over conflict of interest and links to a sexual assault settlement.
Until Jan. 1, Myers was the CEO of AccuWeather, a company that was founded by his brother. AccuWeather’s business model relies on weather data provided by NOAA and has long advocated for privatizing weather gathering. Myers had agreed to divest his ownership stock in a pledge to the Office of Government Ethics.
But concerns were raised in February over news that AccuWeather in June 2018 agreed to pay a reported $290,000 settlement to women at the company as part of a deal that said they were subjected to “sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.”
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), chairman of the House Natural Resources committee, sent a letter to President Trump in February asking him to withdraw the nomination of Myers
The Washington Times was the first to report that Myers had asked Trump to withdraw his nomination to head the NOAA.
Myers told the publication that he had undergone cancer treatments and asked to withdraw his name due to health concerns.
In his statement to Trump, Myers said, “I owe so much to America, having started out as a poor kid in Philadelphia and endured tragic family circumstances.”
“By working hard, I was able to live out the American dream,” he continued. “Unfortunately, my medical issues have made that service to the nation impractical at this time.”
Myers has been nominated to head NOAA on three occasions, most recently in February. He has twice been favorably voted out of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, but his nomination never received a full Senate floor vote.
NOAA leadership was under a microscope over the summer when Trump reportedly pressured the agency to back his assertions that Hurricane Dorian was forecast to hit Alabama.
The incident gained attention after a Birmingham, Ala. Weather Service employee tweeted the state had little to worry about in regard to the hurricane.
The White House has not responded to a request from The Hill to comment.