'It's an insult!' Backlash against Trump's pick for diplomatic post to New Zealand
Donald Trump's pick to be the next United States ambassador to New Zealand has been labelled an "insult".
Scott Brown, a former US Senator, is being vetted to become Trump's representative in New Zealand, according to reports in the Boston Globe.
And like his boss in the White House, Brown has a controversial history.
The 57-year-old supports torture, posed nude for a photoshoot, and was named as having groped and made sexually inappropriate comments towards former Fox News contributor Andrea Tantaros. Brown denies the allegations.
New Zealanders reacted with surprise and dismay at Brown's possible appointment.
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Islamic Women's Council of New Zealand founding member Nasreen Hannif said Brown's appointment would create fear within the Muslim community that he would share Trump's intolerance towards their religion.
"Everybody here has a negative image of President Trump and what his policies are.
"(Brown) has a past history of supporting torture, so would not be good to our community.
"Also, being a supporter of Donald Trump will form an impression of him. We don't know what he will be bringing to New Zealand."
Former US intelligence advisor Paul Buchanan said Brown's appointment was an "insult".
"It just shows you what importance we have to the Trump Administration."
Buchanan said Brown's support of waterboarding was "very troubling."
"For Brown to say he supports these kinds of techniques shows the depths of his ignorance," he said.
Buchanan said that, unlike Brown, he has some knowledge on interrogation techniques, and is certain torture doesn't work.
"It's a punishment, not an effective interrogation technique. Any claims to the contrary are false."
Buchanan said Brown is "not the brightest bulb", and while he could grow into the job, he was "pretty much useless as a Senator."
He said that the Senator's appointment would come as a reward for supporting Trump, because he knows nothing of New Zealand.
Brown has previously said he wants to come here to cycle, but that's about it, Buchanan said. "It'd be an extended holiday. New Zealand deserves a little bit better, certainly better than this guy."
Green Party foreign affairs spokesman Kennedy Graham said he sympathised for anyone who had to uphold Trump's contradictory foreign policy.
"I think I can only feel sorry for anyone selected to represent US policy overseas."
He said Brown should be given time to prove himself.
"On the upside, the guy has political experience in the senate, at state level and at federal level ... it could be worse in that respect.
"Most ambassadors who come in and out of Wellington are by and large capable people, so we should give him the benefit of the doubt."
Graham said Brown identified himself as a "Reagan Republican".
"We would not agree with a great deal of his political views ... but then we wouldn't agree with Reagan's, George Ws or even some of Obamas."
Brown, who now works as a Fox News commentator, curried Trump's favour by endorsing him at a pivotal point of the 2016 GOP presidential primaries, just after Trump had lost Iowa to Ted Cruz and just before the New Hampshire primary.
Former Fox News contributor Andrea Tantaros filed a complaint with the New York Supreme Court against the Fox News Network, its former president Roger Ailes and four others alleging sexual harassment.
She claims: "Fox News masquerades as defender of traditional family values, but behind the scenes, it operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency, and misogyny."
Tantaros also mentions being groped by Brown in documents filed with the court.
"On or about August 18, 2015, former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown appeared on (Fox panel show) Outnumbered.
"Brown made a number of sexually inappropriate comments to Tantaros on set, including, and in a suggestive manner, that Tantaros "would be fun to go to a nightclub with".
"After the show was over, Brown snuck up behind Tantaros while she was purchasing lunch and put his hands on her lower waist. She immediately pulled back, telling Brown to 'stop'.
"Tantaros then immediately met with (Fox News co-president Bill) Shine to complain, asking him to ensure that Brown would never be booked on the show again. Shine said that he would talk to Scott. Thereafter, Shine and Scott ignored Tantaros's complaint, and continued to book Brown on Outnumbered."
Tantaros also alleged she rejected the Ailes' advances and was punished by being removed from Fox shows.
Brown has denied the allegations, and the lawsuit is ongoing.
- Sunday Star Times