Foreign Aid

Trump designates new acting head of USAID


President Trump on Tuesday announced his intent to appoint an acting director of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) following the departure of the organization’s current director at the end of the month.

The president identified John Barsa, who currently serves as the Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, as his pick for the acting administrator.

Barsa will take over for current Administrator Mark Green, who announced his departure Monday and is expected to finish his time at the agency by the end of the month.

The change in leadership comes amid a worldwide scrambling to contain the coronavirus pandemic. The agency had earlier committed $37 million to assist efforts in high-risk countries in Central and Eastern Asia and Africa.

Trump’s move to appoint an acting administrator allows Barsa to take on the role quickly. A formal nomination for an administrator will have to go through a Senate confirmation process.

The latest leadership shakeup reflects a larger pattern of the Trump administration having the highest turnover rate for executive officials and Cabinet members compared to previous ones going back to Ronald Reagan, according to an analysis by Kathryn Tenpas, nonresident senior fellow with The Brookings Institution. 

As of March 7, the turnover rate for the Trump administration is 82 percent over three years. This is compared to a low of 63 percent in George W. Bush’s administration and a high of 78 percent in the Reagan administration over all four years. The Obama administration had a turnover rate of 71 percent.

Barsa, who is from Florida, served nearly a decade in the U.S. Army Reserves, worked in the Department of Homeland Security and was a congressional staff member on Capitol Hill. He is a graduate of Florida International University. 

Tags Coronavirus Donald Trump John Barsa Mark Green USAID
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