Senate confirms Dennis Hankins as ambassador to Haiti

Trending 1 month ago

WASHINGTON — The Senate connected Thursday voted to corroborate Dennis Hankins arsenic nan U.S. ambassador to Haiti arsenic nan Caribbean state faces escalating violence and governmental uncertainty.

The near-unanimous ballot comes astir 10 months aft President Joe Biden nominated nan longtime diplomat to nan station successful May 2023. Hankins was confirmed successful an 89-1 vote, pinch 10 senators not voting.

The White House had urged a "swift confirmation" for Hankins amid increasing pack unit successful Haiti.

"This is simply a captious clip to make judge that we person an ambassador successful spot and we surely urgently request him successful place," White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters earlier connected Thursday. "And again, we’re moving pinch our partners connected Capitol Hill to get him confirmed arsenic soon arsenic possible. We surely dream that that ballot proceeds swiftly and successful nan affirmative."

Hankins steps into nan station conscionable days aft Haiti's premier minister, Ariel Henry, announced his resignation plans arsenic convulsive gangs person swept through overmuch of nan capital, Port-au-Prince. Earlier this month, nan level Henry was connected landed successful Puerto Rico because of threats astatine a Haiti airport. The pack leader, Jimmy Cherizier, called "Barbecue," had threatened further unit if Henry did not measurement down.

Gangs successful Haiti attacked authorities institutions and nan National Penitentiary, which led to astir each of nan estimated 4,000 inmates escaping.

In consequence to nan unrest, nan U.S. added information forces astatine nan American embassy and airlifted nonessential unit retired of nan country.

Biden elaborate his determination to deploy subject unit to nan embassy, penning successful a Thursday letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson that "United States Armed Forces unit are anticipated to stay successful Haiti for arsenic agelong arsenic nan information situation requires."

"Although this subject information unit is equipped for combat, its activity was undertaken arsenic a precautionary measurement solely for nan intent of protecting United States negotiated accommodation and negotiated personnel," Biden said successful nan letter.

Hankins has worked arsenic a overseas argumentation advisor successful nan Pentagon and has held U.S. negotiated posts successful countries including Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Mozambique, according to nan White House. He has besides worked successful Haiti arsenic nan nonimmigrant visa main and exile coordinator.

Megan Lebowitz

Megan Lebowitz is simply a authorities newsman for NBC News.