Biden nominates convicted Trump appointee with dark past for key diplomatic role
Biden's pick, Elliott Abrams, has held positions under three previous Republican administrations, including as Trump's special envoy to Iran and Venezuela, when he directed the US campaign to replace Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, CNN reported.
Abrams' history in foreign relations includes a guilty plea in 1991 for suppressing information about the Iran-Contra Affair, a secret US government scheme to fund anti-communist, rightwing rebel groups in Nicaragua using money garnered from weapons sales to Iran.
Abrams received two misdemeanor counts, two years of probation, and 100 hours of community service for his role in the Iran-Contra Affair, though he was subsequently pardoned by Republican President George H.W. Bush.
The prospective nominee's grim track record on Latin America doesn't end there: in 1982, he appeared in a Senate hearing seeking to downplay reports of more than 1,000 people killed in El Mozote, El Salvador. He even praised the US-trained and armed military troops behind the attack.
The 1981 massacre is known as the largest mass killing in recent Latin American history.
Biden's nomination of Elliott Abrams raises eyebrows
Abrams went on to work as senior director of the National Security Council and as an advisor to President George W. Bush before taking up his role in the Trump administration.
He is currently a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Biden's decision to nominate Abrams to the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy has raised eyebrows among members of his own party.
The bipartisan commission, whose members are named by the president, may not have more than four out of seven appointees of the same political party.
The body is tasked with "appraising US Government activities intended to understand, inform, and influence foreign publics and to increase the understanding of, and support for, these same activities," according to the State Department.
Cover photo: Erin Schaff / POOL / AFP