A bipartisan group of senators convinced President Joe Biden to keep World Food Program chief David Beasley in his role because of his fundraising skills and his credibility with lawmakers, reported Axios.
Beasley, the former Republican governor of South Carolina, was appointed to the position at the Rome-based food agency in late March 2017. His candidacy was supported by then-President Donald Trump and championed by Nikki Haley, a South Carolina politician who served at the time as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
He was given a job extension in March by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, a decision signed off on by the Biden administration.
Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., told Axios he pushed for Beasley’s extension “because of what I’d seen of his effectiveness in the world and in Congress.”
“I’ve seen David Beasley in action around the world, making a difference, both raising funds for the World Food Program from countries in the Gulf and in Europe,” Coons added.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he made it “pretty clear” to the Biden administration that Beasley “has credibility on the Hill.
“And you’d be making a huge mistake to try to replace him because he has a lot of support on both sides of the aisle,” Graham said. “Between Ukraine and famine, it’s a sh*tshow out there.”
A White House spokesperson told Axios Beasley’s term was extended by one year “due to world events such as [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s invasion of Ukraine that have exacerbated global food insecurity.”
Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., told Axios there was a lot of pressure on the Biden administration to replace Beasley with a Democrat.