President Donald Trump has tapped former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown as ambassador to New Zealand, a choice likely to be controversial in both the U.S. and New Zealand because of Brown’s somewhat racy past.
The appointment requires the approval of the Senate.
Though Brown served in the Senate from 2010 through 2012, having won a special election after the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy, he is better known as a Fox News commentator — in which capacity he has been accused of sexual harassment — and as a former model, not always clothed, who was named “America’s Sexiest Man” by Cosmopolitan magazine.
Brown, 57, was mentioned in connection with the lawsuit that Andrea Tantaros brought against Fox last June and that resulted in the dismissal of network chairman Roger Ailes.
The suit does not name Brown as a defendant, and he denies Tantaros’ allegations that he made sexually inappropriate comments and didn’t entirely keep his hands to himself.
An attorney and former Army National Guard officer, Brown was a model in the ’80s, posing for a nude Cosmo centerfold in 1982 while in law school at Boston College. He subsequently served in the state Senate before being elected to the U.S. Senate.
Brown’s bid for a full term ended in defeat at the hands of Democrat Elizabeth Warren.
During his time as senator, he supported “enhanced interrogation techniques,” such as waterboarding.
Before joining Fox in 2013, Brown held communications positions with the Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives and with Massachusetts Gov. William Weld.
His appointment drew criticism from New Zealanders and Americans who object to his dubious past.
Paul Buchanan, a former U.S. intelligence adviser in New Zealand, called his appointment “an insult.”
While Brown has never been to New Zealand and has no connection to the country, in 2015 he told GQ he had “always wanted to go” there to get involved in the Kiwi cycling scene.
Brown has been a Trump supporter since before the Republican primaries last year. He publicly endorsed Trump at a crucial moment in the race when the future president lost the Iowa caucuses to Ted Cruz.
Since Trump assumed the presidency, Brown has been considered a favorite for various posts, including head of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
If his appointment to the ambassadorship is approved, he will be replacing Ambassador Mark Gilbert, who resigned in January.
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