Former President Barack Obama appointed career diplomat Joseph Macmanus to five foreign policy jobs, and Macmanus stayed on at the State Department as acting secretary for legislative affairs when President Trump came into office.
Today, Trump nominated Macmanus to be ambassador to Colombia, a move that elicited conservative opprobrium.
"I was extremely disappointed to learn that Joseph Macmanus has been nominated to become the United States ambassador to Colombia,” the office of Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, stated in a press release. "At a time when we should be cleaning up the State Department and realigning our foreign-policy priorities to reflect those of the current administration, an Obama-era diplomat is not the right person to head our embassy in Colombia, a critical U.S. ally in the region.”
The backstory involves Macmanus' connection to the flow of information following the terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, after the Obama administration deposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Susan Crabtree at the Free Beacon explained in October:
Emails obtained by Judicial Watch from the State Department through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit show that MacManus forwarded the news of Ambassador Christopher Stevens's death to the official in the State Department Legislative Affairs Office with instructions not to "forward to anyone at this point."
Conservatives have expressed outrage that Clinton still issued an official statement claiming the assault may have been in response to an inflammatory video posted on the Internet even though she and her top aides quickly knew it was a terrorist attack.
This could be the first significant GOP Senate opposition to a Trump nominee.