As his term comes to a close, President Obama is continuing to promote staffers and supporters into more permanent positions at a furious clip, with the White House announcing 29 new appointments Tuesday morning.
Some of these appointments are innocuous, like those of gymnast Gabrielle Douglas and basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition.
But some will raise conservative eyebrows, such as the appointment of speechwriter Ben Rhodes to the Holocaust Memorial Board, which oversees the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Rhodes, who created the “echo chamber” that sold the public and media on the Iran Deal, has marched in lockstep with the Obama administration’s Israel policy, last week falsely accusing Israel of building “tens of thousands of new settlements” in the West Bank. Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer has called Rhodes “an expert at fiction.”
Other supporters who will be rewarded with jobs include senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who will join the Board of the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, and Sen. Angus King, I-ME, who was appointed to the Roosevelt Campobello International Park Commission.
As with most administrative-state positions, the president has the power to appoint but not to remove officials until their appointed term expires. Rhodes will serve on the Holocaust Memorial Board for five years; Rice and Jarrett will serve for six.
In addition to rewarding loyal underlings, Obama’s flurry of appointments with make it difficult for President Trump to fill his administration with his own people.
The new slate of appointments push Obama’s year-to-date total over 100.