Donald Trump won Kansas last November by just over 20 points, and in the coming days he’s expected to give the Jayhawk State’s voters their reward: a new governor.
The president reportedly will name Governor Sam Brownback as the UN ambassador for food and agriculture, ending his second term nearly two years early. It’s not exactly the most prestigious post in the Trump administration, considering it’s decidedly less than Cabinet rank, and conservatives are angling to cut off U.S. funding for the UN over its treatment of Israel. Based in Rome and once held by George McGovern, the position assists in the UN’s efforts to combat world hunger.
At this point, Brownback may be looking for any chance to escape a job that’s been going south virtually since the moment he won reelection in 2014. And don’t expect most Kansans to resent Brownback for abandoning his office: A seemingly never-ending budget crisis has made him one of the nation’s most unpopular governors, and polls taken last year found that barely one-in-four voters approved of his performance.
“The people can’t stand him here,” a legislator in Brownback’s own party, Representative Stephanie Clayton, told me last month.
The appointment isn’t official yet. Brownback wouldn’t comment on the possibility to reporters in Kansas, according to The Kansas City Star, although he did confirm his lifelong interest in humanitarian issues. A spokeswoman for Brownback said only that he was “focused on working with the Kansas legislature to balance the budget and pass a modern school funding system.” And Michael Short, a White House spokesman, neither confirmed nor denied that Trump had offered Brownback the position.