Heather du Plessis-Allan: The PM has no choice but to rule Chris Liddell out

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 19 Jan 2021, 4:16PM

Heather du Plessis-Allan: The PM has no choice but to rule Chris Liddell out

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 19 Jan 2021, 4:16PM

I’m surprised the Prime Minister hasn’t cut Chris Liddell loose yet.

I see she’s refusing to say whether she will support him into the top job at the OECD. 

This surprises me because it seems to me a no brainer. After those riots on Capitol Hill, the fact that Chris Liddell continues to work in the Trump administration when other staffers have resigned surely disqualifies him from having New Zealand’s support. 

It’s not that anyone holds him responsible for what happened. Or that I think he should be blamed for what his boss did in stoking up those rioters. 

But Trump’s behaviour in stoking those Capitol riots was completely unacceptable and I think actually drew a red line for those working for him, and many of the staff realised that and left. 

And that is what I take issue with Liddell over. Not what Trump did, but what Liddell failed to do 

He had the option of following his colleagues out the door by signalling his objection to what happened, and yet he chose not to. We can only guess at his reasons but I don’t imagine they’re nearly as noble as he’s portraying them.

I see Liddell has been courting the media. He’s hired a PR guy to make his case. He’s got in contact with writers and broadcasters himself, trying to tell his version to a media that’s interested because he’s a Kiwi like we are.

And then maybe those stories will help his case internationally, but I think that’s made things worse for him. It looks terrible to be so blatantly trying to salvage a reputation while remaining in the job.

It’s possible the Prime Minister’s office is refusing to comment on this because they think this will blow over.

Maybe they’re right.  Maybe this is a beltway story that only interests really nerdy politicos. 

But then maybe there is wider interest because we love yarns about Kiwis doing well internationally and we’re fascinated by stories of Trump and the lone Kiwi working for him. 

Regardless, I would’ve thought it’s a no brainer: rule him out.

I can’t imagine many Kiwi voters will object to that. Surely the Prime Minister would have a lot of support in this country if she chose to make a statement by saying that we cannot as a country support him after the Capitol Hill riots.