Charmaine Yoest

Charmaine Yoest is a complex personality. Why can't reporters figure that out?

Charmaine Yoest is a complex personality. Why can't reporters figure that out?

Is it just my imagination, or are President Donald Trump’s female picks creating a lot more news-media hysteria than his male nominees?

Whether it’s Paula White as one of his six clergy speakers at his inauguration or Betsy DeVos as education secretary or now Charmaine Yoest as assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, the screaming is over the top.

I’ve never met Charmaine Yoest, although I heard her speak at the 2009 meeting of the Religion Newswriters Association and was impressed at the time. And for the record, my sympathies are with anyone who must work in the Humphrey building, a nasty piece of Brutalist architecture completed in 1977 that serves as HHS headquarters down the street from the Capitol. The one time I was inside was not a pleasant experience.

Back to the react. I’ll use Politico’s opening salvo as an example:

President Donald Trump on Friday said he would name one of the most prominent anti-abortion activists in the country to a top communications post at HHS.
Charmaine Yoest, tapped to be assistant secretary of public affairs, is a senior fellow at American Values. She is the former president of Americans United for Life, which has been instrumental in advancing anti-abortion legislation at the state level to restrict access to the procedure.
Her appointment was quickly panned by Democratic lawmakers and prominent abortion rights organizations. The assistant secretary of public affairs shapes communications efforts for the entire agency.
“Ms. Yoest has a long record of seeking to undermine women’s access to health care and safe, legal abortion by distorting the facts, and her selection shows yet again that this administration is pandering to extreme conservatives and ignoring the millions of men and women nationwide who support women’s constitutionally protected health care rights and don’t want to go backward," Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said in a statement.
AUL’s website -- which states that the group offers state lawmakers 32 different pieces of model legislation to restrict access to abortion -- characterizes Yoest as “public enemy #1” for abortion rights organizations.

Betcha can’t guess where Politico stands on this appointment (or on abortion issues) can you?

 

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