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Elizabeth Warren slams Donald Trump’s ambassador appointment to Jamaica

By Jamaica Gleaner

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Donald Ray Tapia

(JAMAICA GLEANER) — Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren has listed United States Ambassador to Jamaica Donald Tapia among five persons whom she claims are “unqualified” and only got the job because they made financial donations to President Donald Trump.

“For decades, administrations of both political parties appointed big donors as ambassadors. They’re usually not experts in the country, foreign policy — or anything else relevant to the job. But, Donald Trump perfected the act of selling swanky diplomatic posts to rich buffoons,” Warren posted on her official Twitter account Tuesday.

Warren has also named Gordon Sondland, Robert ‘Woody’ Johnson, Doug Manchester, and Kelly Knight Craft as donor ambassadors.

Tapia was confirmed by the US Senate in July and took up official duties in Jamaica on September 3.

The US embassy in Kingston has declined to comment on Warren’s pronouncement.

“It is an internal US government political matter and we will not comment,” said Jeremiah Knight, the officer for public affairs at the embassy.

Meanwhile, Warren said she will not participate in what she calls the corrupt practice of selling cushy diplomatic posts to wealthy donors.

“My new plan to get big money out of politics goes further,” she said.

According to Warren, Tapia, a former electrical product company chairman, was nominated to be US ambassador to Jamaica — a country he had not visited for about 20 years — after donating $100,000 to Trump’s inauguration.

Tapia has served as chairman and CEO of Essco Group Management, the largest Hispanic-owned business in Arizona, for over three decades.

He has been listed on the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics, as a 2017 Trump inauguration donor who gave a total of US$100,000.

The site also listed a 2016 donation of $8,100.

Getting big money out of politics

Elizabeth Warren, one of 19 candidates seeking to become the democratic presidential nominee, has pledged to strongly tackle campaign financing reform to remove the influence of money in elections.

In an article titled ‘Getting big money out of politics’ Warren criticised lobbyists and their influence on US elections, pledging a comprehensive plan to permanently eliminate big money from US politics and return America’s democracy to the people.

The US Senator from Massachusetts said she has ran a campaign of avoiding money from federal lobbyists, noting that she has shunned contributions exceeding $200 from fossil fuel or big pharmaceutical executives.

Further, Warren pledged that if she becomes president, she will not give ambassadorships to wealthy donors or intermediaries in her campaign.

“I’m proud to be running a grassroots-funded campaign for president, and I hope my fellow candidates for the Democratic nomination will do the same. But however we choose to fund our campaigns, I think Democratic voters should have a right to know how the possible future leaders of our party are spending their time and who their campaign is rewarding,” she wrote in the article.

In the meantime, Warren wants to ban the consideration of campaign donations in the selection of ambassadors.

She also wants to ban lobbyists from donating, bundling, and raising funds for candidates, as well as enacting strict contribution limits and disclosure requirements for inaugural committees.

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