WASHINGTON — The US Senate on Friday confirmed President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the first US ambassador to Myanmar in more than two decades, the latest step in greater engagement with a nation undergoing dramatic reforms.
Derek Mitchell, a veteran US policymaker on Asia, was confirmed by unanimous consent in one of the final acts by the Senate before it went on a one-week recess.
In congratulating Mitchell, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the diplomat “has done an excellent job in his current role as special representative and policy coordinator for Burma,” the former name for Myanmar.
“His experience will serve us well in the region as he builds on the strong foundation established by (Charge d’Affaires) Michael Thurston and our embassy team in Rangoon.”
The action comes on the same day Myanmar’s pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi departed France to return home at the end of a landmark five-nation European tour in which she was lauded as a model of peaceful resistance to dictatorship.
Myanmar was for decades ruled by an iron-fisted junta, but a reformist government under ex-general President Thein Sein has freed political prisoners and allowed Suu Kyi’s party back into mainstream politics.
Photo via AFP, Soe Than Win
‘Trump literally just confessed to the crime’: Pennsylvania Democrat
Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA) believes President Donald Trump confessed to bribing or extorting Ukraine in an effort to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.
The president told reporters Monday morning at the United Nations that he had withheld foreign aid from Ukraine as he discussed alleged corruption involving Biden, the Democratic presidential frontrunner.
"It's very important to talk about corruption," Trump. "If you don't talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?...It's very important that on occasion you speak to somebody about corruption."
GOP mass exodus: ‘staggering’ number of House Republicans leaving – one way or another – since Trump became president
The ongoing GOP mass exodus is even larger than many may have realized. Nearly four out of every ten Republican Representatives who were in office the day Donald Trump was sworn in as president no longer are or have announced they no longer will be U.S. Congressmen or Congresswomen.
The Washington Post reports that in the almost three years since Trump took office, due to resignations, retirements, and election losses "nearly 40 percent of the 241 Republicans who were in office in January 2017 are gone or leaving."
Trump’s jumbled response to Ukraine scandal is a strong signal of what’s to come: columnist
On Monday, President Donald Trump denied allegations that he extorted the president of Ukraine for information about Joe Biden. “It’s a ridiculous story,” Trump said during an appearance at the United Nations.
The controversy emerged after an anonymous whistleblower in the intelligence community logged a complaint with their agency about improper behavior by the president on a phone call with a foreign leader. “It’s a partisan whistleblower,” the president added.
Previously, the president's lawyer Rudy Giuliani had traveled to Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. Critics worry that during a conversation with the president of Ukraine about rooting out corruption in his country, Trump suggested he offer information about Biden in exchange for funding.