US POLITICS

Report: Disgraced Ex-Baylor President Ken Starr Up For Trump Job

Presiding over a massive cover-up of rape and sexual assault has Starr being considered for a gig in the State Department

US POLITICS
Ken Starr, the religious freedom lover — AFP/Getty Images
Feb 10, 2017 at 12:06 PM ET

Pop quiz:  Which employer would seek out disgraced ex-Baylor University president Ken Starr? Why, Donald Trump’s State Department, of course.

To recap: Starr, who repeatedly denied having any knowledge of the mounting sexual assaults, gang rapes, and other crimes committed at Baylor during his tenure, resigned his presidency in May 2016, He continued to teach law at the school, but as the evidence continued to mount against multiple members of the football coaching staff and athletic department, Starr launched a fact-free media tour in an attempt to rehabilitate his reputation. It didn’t work and he was forced to abandon his position on the faculty as well.

According to a report from Foreign Policy, Starr is now being considered to head the Office of International Religious Freedom, a branch of the U.S. Department of State which monitors religious persecution and promotes the free exercise of religion. The branch has already tabbed Pam Pryor, a former advisor to Sarah Palin, who joined the Trump campaign in August to boost their status among fundamentalist Christian voters, to seek out the best and brightest, and Starr’s reportedly made the shortlist.

Via Foreign Policy:

State Department spokesperson declined to outline Pryor’s responsibilities, but a separate source familiar with her activities said she’s been vetting candidates for the job of ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, a shortlist that includes Ken Starr, the attorney best known for his controversial investigations into Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

“It’s my understanding that it’s his job if he wants it,” said an individual familiar with the process.

Multiple reports have detailed the difficulties the Trump administration has encountered finding qualified individuals willing to serve the whims of a TV-addled, petulant twit currently wandering around the West Wing. And given the chaos, infighting, and sloppiness exhibited by members of his inner circle, it’s worth asking whether Pryor is aware that a recent lawsuit claimed there were 52 alleged cases of sexual assault by athletes at Baylor over a four-year period, or that the university is now going back and taking a second look at 125 reported instances of sexual assault and harassment while Starr was in charge.

Instead, she might have stumbled on an interview he gave in November to a Baylor University student newspaper. “My two abiding passions are education and religious liberty,” Starr said. “I’m working very hard around the globe on issues of religious liberty for all persons.”

According to Frank Wolf, a former Republican congressman contacted by Foreign Policy, Starr is qualified for the job because, “He’s been very, very strong on the issue.”

Should Starr say yes and add ambassador-at-large to his resume, what will he actually be doing?

[Another reported candidate for ambassador-at-large] said the Trump administration is likely to crack down on Saudi textbooks that denigrate Christians and Jews, take a firmer opposition to discriminatory blasphemy laws in Pakistan and swear off “apologizing for private speech in the United States that offends” Muslims. She referred specifically to the 2012 U.S. video titled “Innocence of Muslims” that sparked protests throughout the Muslim world and prompted condemnation from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“Countering radical Islam should be a diplomatic priority,” she said

So, not so much “promoting religious freedom” and more like ‘perpetuating Islamophobia and heightening tensions around the world.’ Sounds about right.