U.N. migration agency skips over Trump’s pick to lead agency

Ken Isaacs, President Donald Trump's nominee to head the International Organization for Migration, speaks in Geneva on Thursday after he was rejected in a secret vote. Photo by Martial Trezzini/EPA-EFE

June 30 (UPI) — Ken Isaacs, President Donald Trump‘s nominee to head the United Nations migration agency, was bypassed for the job Friday in a secret ballot vote.

Isaacs finished last among three candidates Thursday at the International Organization for Migration’s Geneva headquarters.

Portuguese diplomat and former deputy prime minister Antonio Vitorino won the vote instead. He will start in October.

The vote marks the first time since 1951 the leader of the 169-nation agency will not be a U.S. representative. Vitorino will replace American William Lacy Swing, who was elected near the end of President George W. Bush‘s administration.

The rejection of Isaacs, who now works for the Christian nonprofit group Samaritan’s Purse, can be seen as a global rebuke to Trump’s migration policies — and a possible sign of falling U.S. influence in multilateral agencies after Trump recently pulled the United States from the U.N. Humans Rights Council.

Since his nomination in February, Isaacs has also dealt with prior social media posts in which he was critical of Islam, calling it a violent religion, and expressed doubts about climate change. He later apologized.

Isaacs’ defeat at the IOM is “a sad statement on U.S. global credibility,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, former disaster assistance director of the U.S. Agency for International Development. “The world was unlikely to support a U.S. candidate to lead the global migration body under those circumstances.”


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