Trump's pick for ambassador to EU family fled Nazi Germany
Washington Free Beacon:
Karl Rove, the former deputy chief of staff to George W. Bush, lauded President Donald Trump's pick for ambassador to the European Union as a savvy businessman who will serve as a moderating voice on behalf of the United States.He is an interesting choice who will have a tough job dealing with governments that do not really understand Trump and his policies. I wish him success.
Rove met Gordon Sondland, a multimillionaire hotel mogul and long-time Republican donor, nearly two decades ago when the younger Bush was prepping for his first presidential run. Rove and Sondland have since become good friends, sharing skepticism of then-candidate Trump during the 2016 presidential election.
But Sondland, a first-generation American whose parents fled Nazi Germany, has since changed his tune, donating $1 million to the Trump inaugural committee in 2017. Rove said Sondland's family background and experience as a hotelier makes him a unique pick for the slot of envoy to the EU.
"He's been actively engaged in thinking about the world for a long time," Rove told the Washington Free Beacon. "[Diplomatic] jobs like this require you to juggle a lot of things at the same time and require you to have a sense of collegiality because you're dealing with a lot of different people, from a lot of different countries, on a lot of different issues simultaneously, and I think this is going to be one of his strengths. He's used to having a bunch of different balls in the air."
Sen. Thom Tillis (R., N.C.), who met Sondland during his 2014 bid for U.S. Senate, said the mogul's family history is particularly pertinent to the post at a time when populism and anti-Semitism are on the rise in Europe and the United States.
His parents, Günther Sondland and Frieda Piepsch, were born in Berlin and forced to escape the country soon after they married due to the rise of Hitler and onset of World War II. Sondland told the Portland Business Journal that his parents weren't reunited until eight years after they fled Germany.
"When you have parents who were brought up as his were, then you have to believe that part of the family tradition is understanding what can happen when these ideas take hold and understanding the reality that we're only a couple of generations away from what happened in Nazi Germany," Tillis said. "Having that in the back of your mind, having that family experience and history, is just another reason why he rounds out a good resume for the job."