Retiring U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) is taking yet another dig at President Donald Trump while he still holds a public platform, this time by trying to undermine his choice to lead Voice of America and attacking his Yemen policy.
The Washington Free Beacon reported the story Friday.
Corker, the outgoing Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, this week supported a bill to force the United States to withdraw from Yemen. He also slipped through a quiet committee vote to limit the power of Michael Pack, the incoming new head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, (USAGM), which oversees the Voice of America.
Corker has lobbed plenty of criticism at Trump over the past two-years plus. This summer, he had bananas on the brain as he twice likened Trump’s White House to a banana republic in reaction to the president’s removal of former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance.
Following the 2018 midterm elections in November, in which Trump ally Marsha Blackburn won his seat, the Never-Trumper cracked open the door to challenging the president in the 2020 Republican primary.
When asked by reporters if he plans to run for president in 2020, Corker said, “I have not ruled it out.”
Last week Corker likened the White House to a PR firm for Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, The Washington Examiner said.
Now, Corker, with ally U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, (D-NJ), are rushing their USAGM bill through committee to attach it to the government funding bill that must pass before Congress adjourns at the end of the month, according to several government officials, the Free Beacon said.
Pack is expected to win Senate confirmation next year.
The USAGM governs the Voice of America, the 70-plus-year-old U.S. broadcasting service that combats propaganda from repressive regimes with coverage that promotes freedom and democracy worldwide. The Free Beacon says the Corker-Menendez deal would prevent Pack from firing Obama-era holdovers, including Amanda Bennett, the controversial current VOA director. Corker and Menendez have held up Pack’s confirmation for months.
“This is the complete opposite from empowering the CEO because this neuters the CEO by preventing him from appointing the right head of the entities he’s in charge of and requiring approval from the advisory board,” one conservative told the Free Beacon.<
The bill makes the current board members, many of whom were appointed by President Barack Obama and are operating on expired terms, the members of the advisory board, which would receive power to veto personnel decisions.
Pack is a documentary filmmaker who previously served as a Corporation for Public Broadcasting executive.
His critics cite his connections to former White House adviser Steve Bannon.
Pack is the president of Manifold Productions, an independent film and television production company, VOA said in June when he was nominated. Pack’s background also includes serving as publisher of the Claremont Review of Books, and as director of Worldnet, the film and television service of the former U.S. Information Agency.
Liberals worry Trump officials could get too involved with USAGM and it could become a spokesman for the administration and destroy its reputation as an independent voice, the Free Beacon said.
However, the newspaper cites instances of where Bennett has trashed the president, including in a Washington Post op-ed where Trump suggested the United States create a global network to show the world America’s greatness. Bennett’s husband is the former owner of the Post.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.