Democrats are challenging President Trump’s nominee from the Midwestern state of Illinois for the post of U.S. ambassador to Kenya. State Sen. Kyle McCarter’s conservative views run the gamut from opposition to gay rights, restrictions on immigration and locking up former Senator Hillary Clinton.
A White House release said McCarter would be “Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Kenya.”
The post requires Senate confirmation. Last week, State Sen. McCarter was questioned by members of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Senator Chris Murphy asked Mr. McCarter about his opposition to state legislation protecting immigrants from being detained solely because of their immigration status. At the same time, the U.S. is pushing Kenya to accept more immigrants who are housed in Dadaab, the world’s largest camp for refugees.
A quarter of a million registered refugees and asylum seekers live in Dadaab. Since last year, nine refugees awaiting resettlement in the U.S. took their lives after President Trump slashed the number to be admitted from 110,000 a year to 45,000.
Senator Tim Kaine questioned Mr. McCarter on an election night tweet he sent out that read” “Hillary for Prison. No, really.”
“Do you honestly believe Hillary Clinton should be in prison?” the Senator asked.
“I am not one to say anyone should be accused unjustly,” Mr McCarter replied. “There is hype in an election that was perhaps not called for… It was perhaps not the wisest of tweets,” he acknowledged.
Mr. McCarter and his family were missionaries in Kenya from 1987 to 1989, working for a charity established by McCarter’s father called Each One Feed One. Upon returning to Illinois, Mr. McCarter won a state senate seat with the backing of the local Tea Party.
His legislative history includes a support for a bill to allow Catholic charities to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples and unmarried couples in adoption and foster care placements. He helped defeat an anti-bullying bill because, he said, it would promote homosexuality. In 2015, he opposed a bill to fund treatment for heroin addicts even though his daughter, Amber, died of an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. “I don’t think these government sponsored programs work,” he said, by way of an explanation.