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With Trump's nominee in limbo, envoy post in UAE stays empty

WASHINGTON — When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Friday, no U.S. ambassador was there to welcome him.

The post has been empty for nine months. The Republican donor President Donald Trump chose for the job, John Rakolta Jr., hasn’t been approved by the Senate.

Trump has accused Senate Democrats of using the chamber’s web of rules to sabotage his nominees. But Rakolta’s selection illustrates the challenges of filling a high-level government position with a candidate from the corporate world who has no prior diplomatic experience.

The ambassador’s office in the UAE has been vacant since March when Barbara Leaf retired from the State Department after a long diplomatic career. By comparison, Leaf was confirmed as ambassador in November 2014, four months after she was nominated.

Richard Lardner, The Associated Press