Kyle McCarter, President Trump’s choice as the next US ambassador to Kenya, moved closer to securing that post when a US Senate panel voted to support his nomination.
The Foreign Relations Committee endorsed Mr McCarter by a 12-9 vote last week on Thursday.
Republican members of the committee unanimously favoured Mr McCarter’s nomination while nine of the 10 Democratic members voted against the Illinois state legislator.
The nomination now goes to the full 100-member Senate, which is expected to vote to confirm Mr McCarter as envoy to Kenya within the next few weeks.
“I’m pleased it’s moving forward,” Mr McCarter said in a telephone interview. “It’s a very important post, and I am honoured to have been nominated by the president for it.”
But the nominee has proved controversial. Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee fired critical questions at Mr McCarter at a hearing in July.
Senator Tim Kaine, who ran for vice-president on the 2016 Democratic ticket headed by Hillary Clinton, expressed chagrin over a tweet Mr McCarter posted on the night of Mr Trump’s victory urging that Mrs Clinton be put in prison.
Others took issue with his stated opposition to same-sex marriage and to the refugee policies of the Obama administration.