GOP Sen. Sasse rips 'cuckoo' Trump ambassador nominee

Olivier Knox
Chief Washington Correspondent
U.S. President Donald Trump and Leandro Rizzuto Jr. (Photos: Getty Images/YouTube – Salon.com)

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to Barbados and other Caribbean nations faces an uphill fight to confirmation after peddling “salacious conspiracy theories and cuckoo allegations” against Trump’s 2016 rivals, the office of a Republican senator warned on Tuesday.

“Cynics and nuts are probably going to have a hard time securing Senate confirmation,” said James Wegmann, a spokesman for Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb.

His comments came a day after a CNN report on Leandro Rizzuto Jr., Trump’s pick to be the U.S. ambassador to Barbados and several other Caribbean countries. The network unearthed Rizzuto’s 2016 efforts to promote wild smears about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, both Republicans, as well as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Cruz’s wife, Heidi.

CNN found that Rizzuto promoted rumors that Cruz cheated on his wife, and that she was a champion of dissolving the United States into a “North American Union” that would include Canada and Mexico.

In his statement, Wegmann said: “Mr. Rizzuto should feel free to put on his tinfoil hat and visit our office with evidence for his salacious conspiracy theories and cuckoo allegations.

“While he’s at it, the Senate probably needs to know his views on the moon landing. I’m sure Sen. Sasse will be willing to evaluate the specific evidence for his claims — but it’s got to be more than a stack of National Enquirers,” Wegmann continued. “People who want to serve Americans as our diplomats and spokespeople abroad should know that words and truth matter, even during campaigns.”

Rizzuto requires Senate confirmation to become America’s representative to Barbados, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The White House formally submitted his nomination in January.

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

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