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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 TrumpSanders: Reinstating SALT deduction 'sends a terrible, terrible message' GOP braces for wild week with momentous vote One quick asylum fix: How Garland can help domestic violence survivors 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 EngelLawmakers on hot mic joke 'aisle hog' Engel absent from Biden address: 'He'd wait all day' Bowman to deliver progressive response to Biden's speech to Congress Liberal advocacy group stirs debate, discomfort with primary challenges 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 PompeoPompeo on CIA recruitment: We can't risk national security to appease 'liberal, woke agenda' DNC gathers opposition research on over 20 potential GOP presidential candidates Dozens of scientists call for deeper investigation into origins of COVID-19, including the lab theory 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 SondlandAmerica's practice of 'pay-to-play' ambassadors is no joke Graham's 'impeach Kamala' drumbeat will lead Republicans to a 2022 defeat GOP chairman vows to protect whistleblowers following Vindman retirement over 'bullying' 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 BidenSanders: Reinstating SALT deduction 'sends a terrible, terrible message' GOP braces for wild week with momentous vote Shining a light on COINTELPRO's dangerous legacy 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.