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Tag Archives: Brett McGurk

Iraq Ambassador Nominee McGurk Withdraws

As predicted here last week, the nomination of Brett McGurk to be ambassador to Iraq has gone down the tubes, sunk by a series of racy emails exchanged four years ago between him and former Wall Street reporter Gina Chon, who eventually became his wife.

The White House signalled last Wednesday that its support for McGurk was evaporating, with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney offering lukewarm statements in his defense. Carney said noted passively that Obama had made the nomination and opined that McGurk would serve ably as ambassador, but Carney failed to demand that Congress to approve the nomination. White House senior adviser David Plouffe made similar comments on CNN Sunday.

A group of Republican senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week wrote Obama saying they couldn’t support the nomination, and it wasn’t clear that Democrats would wage a fight for it.

WH Lukewarm After Ambassador Nominee’s Sexy Emails

Updated June 14 at 9:33 am

Thursday was probably the beginning of the end for Obama Iraq Ambassador nominee Brett McGurk, as the White House failed to specifically call on the Senate to approve his nomination.

McGurk’s problem is some racy emails that popped up between him and Wall Street Journal reporter Gina Chon from 2008, when he was working at the embassy and Chon was covering Iraq for the Journal. Both were married at the time, and have since divorced and married each other.

Chon was fired by the Journal over the affair.

The emails, an unverified version of which appears on the website Cryptome, includes an extended discussion of the ambassador nominee’s “blue balls.” A sample:

McGurk: I had a very real case of blue balls last night . . . I think they’re still blue . . . The really hurt and won’t stop hurting. I may go see the nurse . . .

Chon: Depending on how you behave, we’ll see about the nurse.

Six Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee sent a letter to President Obama today charging that McGurk lacks leadership and management experience and engaged in “unprofessional conduct.”

“We believe the nominee lacks the leadership and management experience necessary to head America’s largest embassy, in one of the world’s most volatile regions,” states the letter, which was written by Sens. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Marco Rubio of Florida, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Mike Lee of Utah, and James Risch of Idaho.

Even panel Chairman Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) said there are “some very fair questions being asked.”

And so White House Press Secretary Jay Carney signalled McGurk may be toast.

Let’s do some White House tea leaf reading together, shall we? Carney said today of McGurk:

We believe that our nation will be greatly served by his experiences in Iraq, and we look forward to the Senate’s advice and consent on his appointment.

Looks nice, but note the careful Constitution-based language. Presidents don’t ever look forward to the Senate’s advice. Not after making a nomination. Nor do they ever seek anyone’s “consent.” They demand support. Imagine if Obama said, “I’m seeking John Boehner’s consent for my latest proposal.”

Pressed further, Carney said:

I would simply say that we believe that the United States will be greatly served by Mr. McGurk’s experience in Iraq, which is substantial.

Well, perhaps. But Carney, you will note, is not specifically saying McGurk should be the ambassador.

The President supports his nomination.  He put him forward.

The president supports his nomination? What does that mean? Again, Carney carefully avoids saying Obama supports Senate approval of his nomination.

Obama is standing by McGurk, but weakly.

Bye bye, McGurk.