New U.S. aid chief to steer agency away from Trump era isolationism

By Daphne Psaledakis

© Reuters/POOL
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing for Samantha Power to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The fate of the United States is “inextricably linked with the rest of the world’s,” new U.S. aid chief Samantha Power said on Monday, in stark contrast to former President Donald Trump’s focus on “America First” policies and slashing foreign aid.


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Addressing staff on her first day as head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Power sought to tie foreign aid to global and domestic policy challenges such as immigration, climate change and the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“With the world battling a different plague, Americans see what you all have long understood: that this country’s fate is inextricably linked with the rest of the world’s,” said Power, who served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017 under former President Barack Obama.

Power described climate change, authoritarian governments, and poverty and violence fueling migration at the southern U.S. border as some of the “the world’s most pressing challenges.”

“The truth is: none of these challenges is distinct. They all feed into and feed off of one another,” she said.

President Joe Biden’s administration has sought to signal a sharp break with Trump’s go-it-alone approach by re-engaging with allies and pushing multilateral diplomacy.

During her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in March, Power also described foreign aid as an essential tool in counteracting the growing global influence of China.

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Michelle Nichols; editing by Grant McCool)

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