Iraq ambassador pick withdraws before Senate nomination hearing
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – President Barack Obama’s top choice for the Iraq ambassadorial post, Brett McGurk, withdrew from his nomination Monday, a day before the Senate was to vote on his appointment.
McGurk reasoned in a letter that he has become a “distraction” with the surfacing of racy e-mails between him and former Wall Street Journal’s Iraq reporter Gina Chon, to whom he is now married.
The former diplomat, who served for a long time in the U.S. embassy in Iraq, also said the e-mails were “devastating” to his relationship with Chon, who resigned from her job at the newspaper last week for violating a company policy against showing of unpublished articles to sources.
In the embarrassing e-mails that went public online, McGurk and Chon engaged in “flirtatious teasing” and discussed their sexual frustration.
Six Republican senators of the Committee on Foreign Relations told the White House last week that McGurk’s conduct was unprofessional as he was married to another woman at the time he flirted with Chon.
National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor expressed regret over McGurk’s decision to withdraw his candidacy, but recognized his years of dedicated work in Iraq.