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Top Democrat slams Trump's new EU envoy: Not 'a political donor's part-time job'

Top Democrat slams Trump's new EU envoy: Not 'a political donor's part-time job'
© Greg Nash

The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday slammed President TrumpDonald TrumpLil Wayne gets 11th hour Trump pardon Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Trump expected to pardon Bannon: reports MORE’s pick to represent the U.S. to the European Union, criticizing the appointment as abandoning American leadership and diplomacy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelState Department sets up new bureau for cybersecurity and emerging technologies How Congress dismissed women's empowerment 2020: A year in photos MORE (D-N.Y.) condemned the recent announcement that U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Ronald Gidwitz, a Trump and GOP campaign contributor and former owner of a billion-dollar company, will also take on the role of acting ambassador to the EU.

Engel said the position is too important to be “a political donor’s part-time job.”

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“The partnership between the United States and Europe is critical to the national security and economic prosperity of the United States. It’s the foundation upon which our international rules-based order is built,” Engel said in a statement.

“The management of this relationship is too important to be a political donor’s part-time job.”

Engel criticized Trump and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoSenate presses Biden's pick for secretary of State on Iran, China, Russia and Yemen US secretary of State on last day in office equates 'wokeness' with totalitarianism Trump's '1776 Report' released on MLK Day receives heavy backlash MORE for their “determination to undermine American diplomacy and to allow the State Department to wither on the vine.”

“Downgrading our diplomatic representation to the EU during the biggest global health crisis in generations, when our alliances and friendships are even more important, is another step toward the complete abdication of American global leadership,” the chairman said.

The criticism from the top Democrat charged with oversight of foreign affairs comes as the U.S. has been absent from key international efforts to cooperate on the response to coronavirus.

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Trump has halted U.S. funding for the World Health Organization, and on Monday, U.S. representatives were absent from a global fundraising initiative aimed at bolstering funds for COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines.

Last week, Engel joined his counterparts in the U.K., Germany and the EU to call for more global cooperation and collaboration to battle the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Engel on Tuesday also took a dig at former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon SondlandGordon SondlandGOP chairman vows to protect whistleblowers following Vindman retirement over 'bullying' Top Democrat slams Trump's new EU envoy: Not 'a political donor's part-time job' Trump names new EU envoy, filling post left vacant by impeachment witness Sondland MORE, who testified in Congress during Trump's impeachment proceedings about the White House's pressure on Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Scalise bringing Donna Brazile as guest to Biden inauguration Sidney Powell withdraws 'kraken' lawsuit in Georgia MORE.

“And, let’s not forget that the last time the President made the U.S. Ambassador to the EU a part-time job, it didn’t end well,” Engel said, referring to Sondland.