Biden’s Bahrain envoy accused of ‘disparaging’ Arab staff

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Biden’s Bahrain envoy accused of 'disparaging' Arab staff

The Biden administration’s newly confirmed ambassador to the Persian Gulf nation of Bahrain has been accused of making “disparaging remarks” about Arabs and treating his staff like “garbage,” according to a new report. 

In fact, Politico reported Monday, Steven Bondy’s inappropriate behavior toward his own staff even caught the eye of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MBZ).

According to the outlet, a senior Trump White House official asked MBZ for his thoughts on Bondy — who was then serving as charge d’affaires and deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in the United Arab Emirates — following a meeting in March 2018.

“I asked MBZ, ‘Your Highness, what’s up?’” the official reportedly recalled. “And he said, ‘We’re not a fan of Bondy.’ ‘Why not?’ And he said, ‘We don’t think he’s a good person,’ and I said ‘What do you mean?’ And he said, ‘He treats his people like garbage.’”

Bondy was confirmed by the US Senate in a voice vote earlier this month along with dozens of other ambassadorial nominees who had been held up by Republicans in return for political concessions.

Politico noted that none of the claims against Bondy were made to senators, their staffers or other officials and were only brought to the media ahead of the final confirmation vote.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan said Steven Bondy “treats his people like garbage.”
Hannah McKay/WPA Pool/Getty Images

The report states that the allegations against Bondy were brought forward by retired US Army Brig. Gen. Miguel Correa, whom Bondy sidelined and removed from his post as the Abu Dhabi embassy’s defense attaché in 2019. The outlet further reports, citing two former senior Trump White House officials, that Bondy claimed to the Defense Intelligence Agency that Correa was racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic — allegations that were not borne out by the agency watchdog.

Earlier this month, the now-retired Correa told Politico he “would hear [Bondy] say disparaging remarks about Arabs all the time.” 

Victoria Coates, a former special energy representative to Saudi Arabia in the Trump administration who worked out of the Abu Dhabi embassy in the summer of 2020, backed up Correa’s claims, saying she recalled “an instance of [Bondy] being dismissive of Middle Eastern staff.” 

Steven Bondy with Mike Pompeo.
Two former Trump administration officials said they heard Steven Bondy make “insulting and prejudicial or racist” remarks about Arabs.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Two former Trump administration officials and another unnamed person who reportedly interacted with Bondy also told Politico that they heard the diplomat make “insulting and prejudicial or racist” remarks about Arabs, but did not detail what those remarks were.

Other sources claimed to the outlet that Bondy made undiplomatic remarks to top UAE officials, in one case asking the country’s ambassador to the US when he last saw his estranged father.

“It was stupid stuff like that where he didn’t do his homework and was always offending them, and the rest of us looked bad because we were there trying to clean it up,” a former Abu Dhabi embassy official said.

Bondy has denied the accusations, telling Politico that he has “dedicated my career to representing the United States and its interests in the Middle East. I have a deep and abiding respect for the peoples and cultures of the Middle East and harbor none of the prejudices attributed to me.” 

The State Department also defended Bondy, with one senior official accusing Politico in a statement of letting itself “be used to launder false allegations that other outlets and bipartisan Congressional staffers have deemed to lack merit and to be nothing more than the product of political, personal, and workplace animus.”

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