WASHINGTON, DC — Vice President Mike Pence presided over the swearing-in of the eighteenth United States Trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, on Monday in the White House Indian Treaty Room, declaring, “And with this ceremony, President Donald Trump’s cabinet is finally complete.”
Pence acknowledged several of the about 50 guests in attendance, including Sen. Pat Roberts and Sen. Bob Dole, then stated, “To hear Bob Lighthizer tell it, he learned everything that he knows from Bob Dole, serving with him for nearly a decade-and-a-half in his Senate office.”
The vice president said with the appointment of Lighthizer, President Trump is keeping his promise to “fight for trade that puts America first.” He called Lighthizer “one of the leading experts on trade in all of America.”
Pence detailed some of the new trade representative’s career. After working as a private practice lawyer, Lighthizer joined the Senate Committee on Finance, eventually taking on the role of chief counsel and staff director.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan appointed Lighthizer as deputy U.S. Trade representative.
In this capacity, he directly contributed to the renewed growth and prosperity of that era by negotiating more than two dozen bilateral trade agreements with nations all across the wider world.
For the past 30 years, Robert has represented the American businesses that are the beating heart of our economy as a trade litigator. From manufacturing to agriculture, high-tech to financial services, Robert Lighthizer has distinguished himself as a tireless defender of America’s workers and America’s future, and now he’ll be doing it for the United States of America.
The vice president expressed the great confidence he and President Trump have in Lighthizer’s ability to help them “restore trade that is both free and fair,” which “benefits the American people above all else.”
Lighthizer thanked the vice president, Sen. Roberts, and Secretary Wilbur Ross. He then said to his mentor, “But mostly Sen. Dole, who I — when I had my hearing, I said — ‘I wouldn’t be here but for you.’ And he said, ‘No, no, no.’ I said, ‘People say that, but it’s, in fact, true this time.’”
He added, as a student of presidential history, when the dust settles, “The Trump administration will be ranked as one of the greatest in American history.”
Lighthizer expressed gratitude that he had been chosen to serve the president on the important issue of international trade.
I further believe that when my grandchildren, who are here today, talk to their grandchildren, they will say that President Trump permanently reversed the dangerous trajectory of American trade, put America first, made our farmers, ranchers, and workers richer and the country safer.
And I hope I can make some small contribution to that accomplishment.
Several members of Lighthizer’s family were in attendance for the ceremony, including children and grandchildren.
Sen Pat Roberts, the Senate Agriculture Committee chairman, also attended and gave remarks ahead of the vice president. The Kansas senator said he spoke for farmers, ranchers, and people throughout rural and small-town America who have been going through a rough patch these days. Roberts also acknowledged Dole and the 15 years he has served as mentor to his dear friend Lighthizer.
Commerce Secretary Ross, Peter Navarro, and Kellyanne Conway were also in attendance.
Dole and Pence stood beside Lighthizer as he signed his commission document.
President Trump’s cabinet, including Lighthizer, is listed on the White House website.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana.