U.S. President Trump Receives Patten

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U.S. President Donald J. Trump (left) receives the Letters of Credence of Liberia's Ambassador to Washington, D.C., George Patten.

– Says U.S. Liberia relations “stronger now than ever”

United States President Donald Trump says he is committed to working with the Government of Liberia to “advance our common agenda and deepen the strong and abiding friendship between our two countries.”

The American President statement was made after George Patten, Liberia’s Ambassador-designate Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United States presented his letters of credence. The ceremony took place in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. on Friday, January 11, 2019.

According to a press release from the Liberian Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICAT), President Trump accepted the letter of accreditation from President Weah “with great pleasure” and extolled the special relationship that exists between Liberia and the United States of America, which he says is “stronger now than ever”. The American leader recalled that the “special bond” dates as far back as the foundation of the Republic of Liberia. “Since the end of the Liberian Civil war in 2003”, he said, “the country has improved security for its people and taken a difficult task of rebuilding its economy.”

President Trump has also applauded the people of Liberia for the successful Presidential elections of 2017. This, he said, led to the first peaceful transition of power from one democratically elected leader to another. “The transition is a milestone for Africa’s oldest republic and a testament to the confidence the people of Liberia have in the country’s institutions”, he said. The U.S. President emphasized that because his country is Liberia’s “steadfast and longtime ally”, the American people remain committed to the peaceful and democratic future of Liberia.

The U.S. Liberia relationship dates as far back as the 1800s, when freed Black Americans first settled in the oldest independent nation on the continent and formed a government modeled after the U.S. This gave rise to the longstanding special relationship that subsists between both countries. The American government has been a vital development partner to Liberia – from the contributing substantially to its overseas development assistance, to helping resolve the fourteen-year crisis that engulfed Liberia.

In his statement, the U.S. President recalled his country’s role during the Ebola crisis that plagued Liberia in 2014, citing the United States’ assistance which helped overcome the epidemic.

Speaking during the presentation, Ambassador Patten conveyed President Weah’s assurance to the Liberian people and the international community of his commitment to democratic governance, human rights and the alleviation of poverty. “With this commitment, he has already begun taking measures to ensure the improvement of the living condition of the people”, Ambassador Patten said. The Liberian Ambassador also used the occasion to inform President Trump of President Weah’s decision to cultivate even deeper partnership and cooperation with the United States with emphasis on international policy issues, trade and investment.

Ambassador Patten, a seasoned Liberian diplomat, was recently commissioned by President George Weah to represent the country in Washington, DC. He previously served in various diplomatic missions, including Ambassador to Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, the African Union and Charge D’Affaires, A.I at the United Nations.

Ambassador Patten was handpicked as Liberia’s ambassador to the United States by President George Manneh Weah and given letters of credence without having been confirmed by the Senate.  The Senate, referred to the President’s act as “unconstitutional”, followed by appeals for his recall to reconcile the two branches of government.

Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence in a letter wondered to the senate, “How then [could] the President nominate but, without the consent of the Senate, appoint and commission Patten? This action by the Executive is a sheer violation of the Liberian Constitution.”

“The Constitution, which is the organic law of the state, is very clear and for the sake of understanding and observance, depicts in Article 54b: ‘The President shall have nominated and, with the consent of the Senate, appoint and commission ambassadors, ministers, consuls….,’” Senator Lawrence’s letter, dated on Monday, January 14, 2019, and read before plenary on Tuesday, January 15, noted.

The Senate, therefore in its first sitting Tuesday in the central-cool but not-spacious conference room of the new Chinese constructed Senate Annex on Capitol Hill, was further requested for its constitutional indulgence to “invite Findley and Patten so as to explain their actions and reasons, which necessitated the constitutional violation.”

Meanwhile, with the official recognition of Ambassador Patten in the midst of the controversy, many people have wondered how the Executive and the Legislature could work together, since the Executive, had shown its unwillingness to follow the constitutional arrangement to ensure unity of purpose in their collaborative work for the Liberian people.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Politicians and ordinary Liberians who are obsessed with Weah have lost an important ambassadorial fight. George Patten was appointed by Weah to serve as Liberia’s ambassador to the United States. Patten will not be recalled, neither will Trump, the American president honor a letter or a delegation from Liberia that threatens to derail Patten’s appointment. It’s over with!

    Weah’s obsessed political enemies will be aggrieved if I say “Weah has won the fight”. Since it is logical for me to always promote Liberian patriotism, and since I strongly believe that we Liberians should conduct ourselves professionally, a civil, non-provocative statement should be made. What should be said about the ambassadorial fracas is this……..”Liberia has crossed over a major milestone. Liberia has won the ambassadorial fight. George Patten has been positively received by President Donald Trump”.

    Conversely, it should also be said that the lawmakers who fought hard to quash Patten’s appointment have put up a good fight. Also, those very said lawmakers will continue to discharge their required duties professionally, whether we disagree with them or not.

    In the US, there is something called “recess appointment”. Recess appointments are used by US presidents to appoint ambassadors, or lower level cabinet appointees when Congress is on a recess. When such a step is taken, usually the presidential appointee does not go through the normal protocol of senate confirmation. What should made clear in this context is that Liberia has had no ambassador in the US since Weah’s presidency. Weah had to bypass the normal protocol in order make Liberia look good. Hence, Weah ought to be credited for doing his job right.

    Thanks be to God. Once again, Liberia is represented in the US by an ambassador.

  2. Interestingly, I read several news articles about this issue and neither one mentioned a word about recess appointment. Was that omission a deliberate act to make Weah look bad or is the media just ignorant of the law? In the United States, however, the law allows the President to make a recess appointment when congress is not in session, but that appointment is only temporary…I believe it’s two years. After that the President must submit that official for Senate confirmation. I can’t speak to the laws in Liberia regarding this appointment, but the Press should not present a biased story which is dishonest. The folks on the streets are led to believe that Weah violated the constitution. Also, the Ministry of Information should educate the public how the President was able to appoint, and commission Ambassador Patten without Senate confirmation.

  3. Shouldn’t Weah be impeached for “violation of the Constitution”? Article 62 says “The President and the Vice-President may be removed from office by impeachment for treason, bribery and other felonies, VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION or gross misconduct” The appointment of Mr. Patten, without the consent of the senate, is a clear violation of Article 54b.

    With this evidence, isn’t impeachment appropriate??

  4. There is no stopping now for President Weah. He can appoint, and conformed, He just threw the Liberian
    Constitution through the window.

  5. Questions and answers….
    1. Question: Was that omission a deliberate act?
    Answer: Maybe, not too sure though.

    2. Question: Or is the media ignorant of the law?
    Answer: Probably. Again, not too sure.

    An area of agreement: Quote “The Liberian Press should not present a biased story which is dishonest”.

    Response…Oh yes. Instead of presenting an objective story, editorialists, newspaper writers inject their opinions probably because of their bias or maybe to increase readership.

    Unfortunately, the laws in Liberia are hard to comprehend or follow. Sometimes, the Liberian laws are ignored by the very people who are charged with the responsibility of enforcing them.
    I am almost certain that Weah was thinking alone the lines of a temporary appointment. It’s been two years since his induction into office. He felt that something had to be done. Now that Patten has been embraced by Trump, the usual background dealing and wheeling will start. I won’t be surprised to see some “unnamed Liberian lawmakers” giving high praisie to Weah for a good job well done.

  6. Laws made in America are not automatically applied to Liberia. How could anyone say “recess appointment” is applicable to Liberia just because it is done in America… President Weah has proceeded wrongly, there is no other way it can be said .

  7. I want to know the part of the Liberian Constitution that says that the president can appoint foreign diplomats without confirmation when lawmakers are on recess. We are always in the habit of comparing our country Liberia with the United States of America. These are two different countries. The United States of America is not interested in interfering into Liberia’s domestic affairs or politics. Our lawmakers are not working in unity to exercise their constitutional authority. They are always divided. They are representing personal interests instead of the Liberian people.I want anyone to cite an example for me by pointing out under which administration such has happened. Mr. F.S. Hney please do me this favor.

  8. Ok , it was a recess appointment and it is legal. But while there is no constitutional provision or statute for recess appointments , the practice is universal and more likely centered on matters of political urgency. And in the case of the Liberian constitution , article 56 is within the prerogative of the President to submit the names of appointees to the Senate to be confirmed or to filled up positions without confirmation when political urgency demands that . This the President must do according to his constitutional responsibility in running the day to day affairs of the State. Sometimes such political urgency takes place when the police Director is forced to resign , or a superintendent quits, or an important overseas position has to be filled . Remember the Presidency is charged with running the day to day affairs of the country and not the Senate which has an oversight responsibility only . This explains while article 56 which is a constitutional prerogative of the presidency can not be tempered with due to the political nature and urgency in running the day to day affairs of the State. In other words, the presidency knows best . But since it has been established that there was no confirmation of the Liberian Ambassador to the United States by the Senate, the political urgency which was used to appoint the Ambassador will be in danger if the unconfirmed Ambassador seems to out last the urgency appointment. Then is seen as a clear violation to deny the Senate of its constitutional responsibility. And the Ambassador is therefore seen as being imposed upon the Liberian communities in the US by the President. So can he be recalled after the period of political urgency has expired, yes . By either the Senate reminding the presidency of it constitutional oversight responsibility to have the Ambassador recalled or through a protest by the Liberian communities refusing to have an unconfirmed Ambassador imposed upon them . Whether his service was good to the communities or not. The recess appointment is legal and should be accepted as rightly done by the US government. Remember that political urgency demands that benefit of the doubt be given to the Presidency as the political institution that knows what is best in running the day to day affairs of the State.

  9. Martin Scott
    Please be notified that impeachment cases are not on a par with a minor infraction. If you fail to pay your traffic tickets, your driver’s license could be suspended until you pay.

    Similarly, a temporary appointment of a qualified Liberian to represent Liberia in the US is not treasonous. There you are calling for an impeachment of Weah and his VP. By the way Scott, an impeachment of a president does not call for terminating his presidency.

    Jayroll,
    You are in the wrong lane as matters relate to Patten’s appointment as Liberia’s next ambassador to the US. The most important issue you have failed to address is the fact that Patten’s credentials have been positively received by the president, Mr. Donald Trump. I drive by the Liberian embassy on 16th street, NW DC, once in a while and because there’s no ambassador, the compound doesn’t look attractive. Something had to be done! A temporary appointment has been made in order to fill a vacancy. Now, let’s move on.

    Gardeh:
    Let’s be realistic. Laws that are made in the US are not Liberian laws. But, there’s a similarity. The US celebrates its independence on July 4. Liberia celebrates its independence on July 26. Take a look at Liberia’s school calendar for a second. Gardeh, is there a difference between Liberia’s school calendar and that of the US? If you guys could take a pause and desist from rushing to judgement, you would see that Weah’s appointment of George Patten is not a blatant violation of the country’s constitution but rather an urgency that had to be handled as a kind of recess appointment.

    F. Taylor…
    I totally agree with you that Liberia is a West African country and that the US is a North American country. But the West African country of Liberia was set up to replicate the North American country of the USA. Example, the coins of Liberia at one time had a similar worth with coins in the US. The constitutions of both countries are similar in nature. When the US constitution was drafted, the issue of “recess” as we know it today was not spelled out as such. That’s precisely why you and thousands of Liberians will not see the issue of “recess” spelled out in the Liberian constitution.

  10. Recess is implied in the constitution of 1847-48. Read also the commonwealth when was 1821. Decrees during the late 1970s up to the end of the war and last crisis administration brought these constitutional crisis. If also implied or not in the constitution of 1986 is the sifter for future findings to vote tyrant laws out of the Liberian legislative system. The United States accepts diplomacy based on its own laws as applied. Tell Liberians. Not me.
    Gone to silent 57% majority.

  11. Let’s go back in time with President Sirleaf making recess appointments. No “hala hala” then.
    New Appointments in Government

    Wednesday, 15th October 2008

    Monrovia, Liberia – President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is pleased to make the following recess appointments, subject, where applicable, to confirmation by the Senate on the body�s return from recess:
    •Cllr. William B. Sando, Jr.; Judge, Circuit Court, Bomi County
    •Judge Yussif D. Kaba; Resident Judge, Civil Law Court
    •Cllr. James N. Gilayeneh; Relieving Judge
    •Cllr. Nelson B. Chineh; Stipendiary Magistrate, Monrovia City Court
    •Mr. Mathew G. Zarzar; Deputy Minister for Administration, Ministry of Education
    •Cllr. John Caranda; Deputy Director for Administration, Liberia Produce Marketing Corporation (LPMC)

    Support our president, let’s not scrutinize him when we haven’t done our homework. Yes, we can constructively criticize, that’s our rights. Let’s us constructively work together with him, after all it ALL OUR country and President George Weah was ELECTED ; no military coup, he was elected.

    Thanks
    Chief Charlie Bunadee

  12. TD and
    Chief Bunadee,

    It’s my hope and prayer that we will continue to level the playing field without being negative. Both of you deserve to be credited. To be fair, the following respondents/commenters went about this “recess” issue intelligently: Phil George, Gardeh, F. Taylor, Scott, Davis and Jayroll. If politicians in Liberia could go about solving the country’s problems without getting into a shouting contest, we would change the tide of destruction that’s stacked against us. “The fixing of Liberia’s economy”, says Phil George, is a good place for politicians to start. I second the proposal.

    It’s been a year since Weah’s presidency began. The country of Liberia, our country of birth, has had no ambassador in the US for approximately a year. Of course, Liberia is the first African country to have established or opened up an embassy in the US. The question is this….why did it take so long?

    The Answer? Political bickering on the part of some individuals who for selfish reasons have made and continue to make life difficult for Weah. That has been the hold up.

    Without a shred of doubt, I agree that politicians have a right to express themselves. But I think that free expression should not be based on hatred and a destruction of another man’s character. Liberia is a poor nation. But it’s been reported that lawmakers earn $120,000 per year. But at the same time, there’s no electricity at our schools in the back country! The Liberian politicians know this, but they’ll pretend it’s not there or its not too serious. Well bull! A good place to start in terms of fixing our economic mess (which of course is not Weah’s fault), is on the Hill. A $120,000 salary is outrageous! If a lawmaker takes a pay cut of 50%, a lot of money will definitely be saved. Example .$120,000 – 60,000 = $60,000. Okay, with $60,000, 6 generators could be purchased for 6 back country schools in Loffa or Nimba or any county in the country.

    We need to absolve ourselves of poverty! We’ve got good educators, good food, good women and so on. So what’s stopping us?

  13. Mine is not a chat room. When one gets in a personal space without permission especially when told not to in pure English, how do we rate this one, professional or illiterate? Tell the Liberia people. Do not chat with me. Do not answer me.
    Gone to silence.

  14. Recess meaning that the President, in the absence of the Legislature has the right to make appointments without reservations. Revisit Liberian Constitutions prior to and during decrees and tyranny. My knowledge is not free. Professionals do not steal knowledge. Ask the Liberian people. Do not ask me.
    Gone to silent 57% majority.

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