It looks like Ireland won't have a US Ambassador until 2019 and that's just not good enough - Irish and Irish American community are not impressed.
Ireland is one of just five European countries out of 50 which has no U.S. ambassador in situ 20 months into the Trump presidency.
It now seems very likely there will be no new ambassador at least until 2019 after presumed choice Edward Crawford, 80, a Cleveland billionaire businessman, dropped out of contention for unknown reasons -- a story first reported in the Sunday Times Irish edition.
He joins first pick Brian Burns on the sideline, the Palm Beach former lawyer for Trump and among his closest acquaintances who was the immediate pick for Dublin when Trump took office. Burns later had to withdraw because of ill health. In fairness to Trump, Burns would have been an excellent choice.
Crawford was expected to be announced on St. Patrick’s Day this year but no statement came.
Because it takes significant time for background checks, it is now expected that Trump will be able to name an ambassador until 2019 at the earliest.
That seems an inexcusable lapse. It surely cannot be that difficult among the Trump coterie to find an ambassador to represent the U.S. in Ireland.
Ireland is English speaking, temperate in climate, important to millions of Americans and the residence in the Phoenix Park is stunning. Yet there are no takers?
But the lack of an ambassador could dovetail with the general overall difficulty of hiring that this administration has. Unlike other administrations, a resume that includes a spell in this chaotic White House may be a hindrance rather than a help when seeking employment. The White House recently held a poorly attended job fair to try and fill vacancies.
Perhaps it is the same with the business community and former politicians. Trump is enormously unpopular overseas with the exception of Israel. Why carry water for the most disliked president in history among overseas nations?
The Irish government is rightly upset that no envoy has been named, as are many Irish Americans who feel it is a slight on Ireland to have the job vacant for so long.
Ireland joins an unwelcome list along with Luxembourg, Switzerland, Hungary, and Belgium as European nations without an ambassador since Trump was elected. In Ireland’s case it has been vacant since January 2017.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar raised the issue on St. Patrick’s Day and made clear to the president that issues such as Brexit, the Irish peace process and the role of American multinationals in Ireland make an ambassador necessary.
Trump is not unaware of the concern and he specifically brought up the Brexit impact on the Irish peace process during a phone call with his British counterpart Theresa May in June.
In addition to no ambassador, there is also no U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland, a vital job that has helped enormously (think George Mitchell) at critical times for the peace process.
There is not much optimism on that front either with new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo professing complete ignorance on the position when asked about it during recent House hearings.