Another widely despised man has a high probability of signing up to join the rudderless hell cruise that is the Trump administration. This time, it’s Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, whom the White House announced on Wednesday is President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the State Department’s ambassador at large for international religious freedom.
If confirmed, Brownback’s new job will be to promote religious freedom abroad as a US foreign policy objective. According to the State Department’s website, it’s the ambassador’s office’s job to monitor “religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, recommend and implement policies in respective regions or countries, and develop programs to promote religious freedom.” According to the Kansas City Star, Brownback is best known for introducing conservative abortion restrictions, welfare reforms, gun laws, and a disastrous tax cutting plan.
But Brownback will perhaps be remembered best by the people of Kansas for being the second least-popular governor in the nation, allowing the 60 percent approval rate he had upon assuming the governorship in 2011 to slip to 25 percent, according to a recent survey conducted by Morning Consult. Brownback lost the least-popular governor contest to Chris Christie, who has a disapproval rate of 69 percent. Nice.
Tom Wit, executive director of LGBT rights group Equality Kansas, said in a statement about Brownback’s nomination (emphasis mine):
“Governor Brownback is unsuited to represent American values of freedom, liberty, and justice, whether at home or abroad. His use of religion is little different than that of a bully wielding a club. His goal is not to use religion as a way to expand freedom, but to use a narrow, bigoted interpretation of religion to deny freedom to his fellow citizens. He has caused enough damage here in Kansas. We do not wish him upon the world.”
Democratic State Representative Jim Ward also weighed in on the nomination, saying, “I’m not going to miss him…. He has left a state in carnage and destruction.”
As I mentioned, Brownback still needs to be confirmed by the Senate, a situation his spokesperson got in front of by issuing the statement “Governor Brownback is still Governor of Kansas” on Wednesday. No doubt many of his constituents were celebrating his departure prematurely.