Oh, those pesky government watchdogs!
Always trying to make sure that government employees behave lawfully and all that.
It’s such a bother for wealthy donors to Donald Trump who receive plum ambassadorships in exchange for their filthy lucre with expectations that their lives will be filled with gala dinners and swanky ceremonial occasions, not the fine examination of their personal peccadilloes as they interact with the diplomats of their host countries and embassy staff.
Unfortunately for Robert Wood “Woody” Johnson — the billionaire scion of the Johnson & Johnson fortune, an owner of the NFL’s New York Jets, and the Ambassador of the United States to the United Kingdom — the government watchdogs at the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General have his number now.
The Inspector General has released a report today confirming the accusations made by embassy staffers against Johnson and determining that he did indeed make inappropriate comments on religion, sex, and race, and threatened staff’s jobs if they disagreed with him.
Among the allegations made against the billionaire, Trump-supporting ambassador were accusations that Johnson questioned why African Americans need a Black History Month and made disparaging comments about women, that they were cheaper labor who worked harder than men.
While the new Inspector General’s report doesn’t give any specifics of Johnson’s offensive behavior, it does clearly find that the ambassador “sometimes made inappropriate or insensitive comments on topics generally considered Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)-sensitive, such as religion, sex, or color.”
According to The Hill:
“Staff further said that Johnson was combative when he felt people were resistant to his suggestions, questioning staff intentions and implying that he might have them replaced. The OIG remarks staff held back their best judgement in fear of the ambassador.”
While the Inspector General’s office recommended that “the State Department’s Bureau of Europe and Eurasian Affairs, working with the department’s Office of Civil Rights, assess the ambassador’s compliance with Equal Employment Opportunity laws and take appropriate action based on the review,” the bureau disagreed with this specific recommendation, the only one of the 22 recommendations made that it rejected, saying that Johnson “is well aware of his responsibility to set the right tone for his mission and we believe his actions demonstrate that.”
An embassy spokesperson, speaking to The Hill, said:
“Ambassador Johnson is fully focused on the important foreign policy priorities that represent our Special Relationship with the United Kingdom, including negotiating an unprecedented free trade agreement, helping our economies emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than ever, and securing our countries against the full range of threats we face.”
Threats like The British Open not taking place at a Trump golf course, one imagines.
Original reporting by Brandon Conradis at The Hill.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.