Elliott Abrams Under Consideration for Deputy Secretary of State

Notorious Neocon's Decades of Scandal Presented as Experience

The Iran-Contra Affair happened some 35 years ago. A major black eye for the Reagan Administration, it was also the first in a long line of blotches on the record of then-Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams, who was convicted of two counts of withholding information from Congress regarding the affair, pardoned in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush. As a Special Assistant to President George W. Bush, he was a supporter of the US invasion of Iraq, and played a major role in the failed military coup in Venezuela.

But apparently that’s just another way of saying he’s experienced, and with the Trump Administration facing criticism for both President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s lack of foreign policy experience, Abrams is back again like a bad penny, and under serious consideration for the position of Deputy Secretary of State.

The position of number two in the State Department is always powerful, but expected to be even more-so this time, with the expectation that the deputy would virtually run the department while Tillerson learns on the job. It’s a potentially very dangerous position to put the notorious neoconservative Abrams into.

Tillerson apparently supports this idea, and despite Abrams’ well-documented history of lying to Congress, many in Congress are keen on the idea too, as his experience in past administrations, however dishonorably, makes him a known commodity.

While there is a seemingly endless list of policy objections against Abrams in any position, let alone a foreign policy position of power, right now the big obstacle seems to be Abrams recent history as part of the “never Trump” camp. Abrams repeatedly and publicly condemned Trump during the campaign, and the “vetting” process so far seems to be centered chiefly on whether he is palatable as a political opponent.

At this point, the chief opposition to Abrams in Congress is Sen. Rand Paul (R – KY), who will oppose his nomination. Paul is on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and could keep him from getting approval to get out of committee.

Those wishing to contact the White House, or call their Senators to express opposition to Abrams’ appointment to the position are encouraged to do so, and can follow the provided links to find contact information.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.