Trump nominates businesswoman as US ambassador to Singapore

In a photo taken on Sept 18, US President Donald Trump visits the US-Mexico border fence in Otay Mesa, California. Mr Trump has nominated Ms Barbera Hale Thornhill of California to be ambassador to Singapore.
In a photo taken on Sept 18, US President Donald Trump visits the US-Mexico border fence in Otay Mesa, California. Mr Trump has nominated Ms Barbera Hale Thornhill of California to be ambassador to Singapore.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump has nominated Ms Barbera Hale Thornhill to be ambassador to Singapore. If confirmed by the Senate, she will fill a post that has been vacant since January 2017 when the previous ambassador Kirk Wagar, a political appointee, departed upon Mr Trump's inauguration.

Ms Thornhill currently serves as president of Impact Design, a business-focused interior design firm in Los Angeles, California, the White House said in an e-mail.

She is an active member of the Getty Research Institute Council, the Getty Paintings Council, the World Affairs Council, and the Pacific Council on International Policy.

"Ms Thornhill's extensive philanthropic work has addressed the needs of children affected by poverty, abuse and neglect, especially as Secretary of the Board of the Children's Institute of Los Angeles," the White House said.

"She has promoted literacy, technology, and cultural programmes through the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, as a board member of the West Los Angeles County Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and as a leader of the National Children's Chorus of Los Angeles and New York."

Ms Thornhill attended the University of California, Los Angeles, George Washington University and North Carolina State University in Raleigh. 

The confirmation process, which involves vetting and a Senate hearing, could take weeks or months.

President Trump in May 2017 nominated Ms K. T. McFarland, a former deputy national security adviser, for the post. But in February last year, she asked for her nomination to be withdrawn as the confirmation process had dragged on for months, with senators questioning her role in the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The delay necessitated her renomination, but then she withdrew.

Correction note: This story has been edited for clarity.