Ambassador nominee: Bahamas a US protectorate 'for all intents and purposes'

President Trump's nominee to become U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas said in a Senate hearing Wednesday that the British Commonwealth realm is "for all intents and purposes" a protectorate of the United States.

As a British Commonwealth realm, the Bahamas is a sovereign state that shares a head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, with the United Kingdom and 14 other nations.

Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezMedia's selective outrage exposed in McSally-Raju kerfuffle Dem senators say Iran threat to embassies not mentioned in intelligence briefing Overnight Defense: Iran crisis eases as Trump says Tehran 'standing down' | Dems unconvinced on evidence behind Soleimani strike | House sets Thursday vote on Iran war powers MORE (D-N.J.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, questioned Doug Manchester, Trump's nominee for the position, on his views about the archipelago's territorial status.

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"In your conversations with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff, you described the Bahamas as a protectorate of the United States. Is that a view that you believe is part of our relationship?" asked Menendez.

"Well certainly, for all intents and purposes, we believe that it is a protectorate," replied Manchester, who was a major fundraiser for Trump's campaign.

Manchester then explained that he based his view off of the presence of Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security officers in the island nation.

"We are obviously working with the Royal Bahamian Police Force, which we want to continue to support, who are doing a great job in the interdiction of human trafficking and drugs and also gunrunning," Manchester added.

The Royal Bahamas Police Force is the national law enforcement agency of the Bahamas.

Manchester, a well-known San Diego businessman, was an early supporter of Trump, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.