Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Reaction to New Heritage Foundation President Floods In

The Heritage Foundation has just announced that Kay Coles James, a member of the think tank's Board of Trustees since 2005, will become Heritage's new president on January 1, 2018.  She will take over that position from Ed Feulner, the founder of the think tank who became the interim president after the ouster of former president Jim DeMint earlier this year (details here). 

Feulner will remain in an advisory role through January 2018 to assistant with the transition.  He will also resume his role as chairman of Heritage's Asian Studies Center and Chung Ju-yung fellow.

Here is more about Kay Coles James from Politico:
James, who is African-American, served as director of the Office of Personnel Management under President George W. Bush and in Ronald Reagan's Department of Health and Human Services. She also served as Virginia's secretary of health and human resources and as a member of the state board of education.
The board of directors sifted through more than 200 résumés before settling on James, who also served on President Donald Trump's transition team.

Politico notes that James was initially interested in joining the Trump Administration but was "blocked."  However, she noted that she will probably be "able to do far more" from her post at Heritage than within the administration.

In October, the Washington Post published an article saying that James, a close ally to Feulner, "has been mentioned by several associates as someone who could serve in a temporary capacity if the board cannot settle on a candidate."

In reaction to the announcement, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said that Heritage made a "brilliant" choice.

Axios says that she led the search committee for the new president and "will be able to represent Heritage's core values."

In a Daily Signal Q&A, James notes that after she became a serious candidate for the position, she stepped down from the search committee and Ed Meese took it over.

Zack Stanton of Politico says that this likely makes Kay Coles James "the most influential black conservative woman in America."

Here is what the Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin has to say about the new selection.

The Christian Post outlines the four things you need to know about Heritage's new president.

NYT headline: "Heritage Foundation Names New President After Turmoil Under DeMint."

Here is a Wall Street Journal editorial on Heritage and the new president.

While the announcement has so far received lots of praise, some have not been so positive.  For example, Tariq Nasheed, a film producer and media personality, said that "Heritage, a think tank that puts out white supremacist propaganda like Black People have lower IQ's, has named its first black female president to mask their anti-black agenda."

Human Rights Campaign says that James worked for a "designated hate group" Family Research Council and "compared LGBTQ people to drug addicts, alcoholics, and adulterers."

Here is a new Tevi Troy piece on the history of presidents' relationships with think tanks.