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White House Continues to Hire Top Talent from Cruz World

By  |  January 30, 2017, 02:20pm  |  @josh_hammer

Word is spreading today in conservative media that President Trump, via his National Security Council, has tapped longtime Sen. Ted Cruz foreign policy adviser Victoria Coates to serve as a senior director for strategic assessments.  This follows last Thursday’s news that Trump had also tapped movement conservative warrior and ex-Cruz Chief of Staff Paul Teller, which itself followed the previous news releases of the White House’s hiring of ex-Cruz hands Zina Bash (regulatory reform), John Zadrozny (justice and homeland security policy), and Ryan Newman (Office of Legal Policy).

As with the hiring of my friend Paul, I have nothing but exceedingly kind things to say about Trump’s hiring of the wonderful and talented Dr. Coates, who worked for then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and then-Texas Governor Rick Perry before joining the Cruz team.

A longtime conservative activist and former RedState blogger turned Senate foreign policy/national security aide, Dr. Coates combines two exceedingly rare vocations: she is both a highly respected art historian and an exceptionally knowledgeable expert on all things related to Middle East geopolitics and countering the jihadi threat.  She has been instrumental in developing Cruz’s rather unique brand of foreign policy advocacy, which eschews more traditionally “neoconservative” quixotisms in favor of a more hardened counter-jihadi realism.  In fighting the jihad, then, Coates rejects much of “conventional wisdom” in favor of a soberer, perhaps more narrowly tailored militaristic and diplomatic approach.  In comparing the differing foreign policy doctrines of Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio last February, I noted:

…Rubio has much more fully and unapologetically embraced the [neoconservative] doctrine from the George W. Bush era.  Cruz, on the other hand, subscribes to what Matt Lewis has called “militaristic pessimism“: Cruz starts out from hawkish first principles about American Exceptionalism on the world stage and our imperative to fight the jihad on the jihadis’ shores before they reach our own shores, but those precepts are then duly constrained by a post-Iraq War realist sobriety about the limits of using the U.S. military for nation-building purposes.

Like her (now) ex-boss, Dr. Coates is an unwavering and tireless friend of both the Jewish people and the Jewish State of Israel.  She gave a fantastic interview to The Jerusalem Post last March where she (properly) described Israel as being “in the trenches with the United States” in existential opposition to the global jihad.  She is, quite frankly, one of the truest friends of the Jewish State in all of American politics, and I have no doubt that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is personally ecstatic to hear of her hiring by the White House.  When I wrote last April that Ted Cruz is “is almost assuredly the most philo-Semitic and genuinely pro-Israel candidate to ever seek the Republican presidential nomination,” it was certainly with Dr. Coates partially in mind.

I continue to have serious qualms with Steve Bannon’s role in this White House; similarly, Friday’s omission of any specific reference to the Jews in the White House’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement was so exceedingly stupid as to be utterly vile in effect, if not necessarily in intent.

But what a truly wonderful hire the White House has just made here.  Donald Trump has taken yet another measure to reassure the pro-Israel and counter-jihad communities of his commitment to our causes.  I am so very happy for Victoria.