Trump nominates businesswoman for S'pore envoy post

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 is president of Impact Design, a business-focused interior design firm in Los Angeles, California, the White House said.

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 at 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 But in February 2018, she asked for her nomination to be withdrawn as the confirmation process had dragged on for months, with senators questioning her role in the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 election.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: The article has been updated with the accurate timeline of when Mr Trump nominated Ms K. T. McFarland and when she asked to be withdrawn. We are sorry for the error. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2019, with the headline 'Trump nominates businesswoman for S'pore envoy post'. Print Edition | Subscribe