Trump picks re­tired ad­mi­ral to lead Navy

Lodi News-Sentinel - - PAGE TWO - By Ju­lia Ter­ruso

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s lat­est nom­i­nee to lead the U.S. Navy has deep Philadel­phia ties: Ken­neth Braith­waite was a grad­u­ate stu­dent at the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia, once served as a Ri­d­ley Park Coun­cil­man and worked at the Philadel­phia Naval Base.

Trump an­nounced early Mon­day that he was nom­i­nat­ing Braith­waite, a re­tired rear ad­mi­ral and the cur­rent am­bas­sador to Nor­way, to re­place the ousted Richard Spencer.

Spencer was fired by De­fense Sec­re­tary Mark Esper for al­legedly of­fer­ing to al­low a Navy SEAL con­victed of a war crime to re­tire at his cur­rent rank, ac­cord­ing to a re­port in the Hill.

Braith­waite grad­u­ated from the Naval Academy in 1984 and served as a naval avi­a­tor in Hawaii, where he flew an­ti­sub­ma­rine mis­sions in the West­ern Pa­cific and In­dian Oceans. Orig­i­nally from Michi­gan, Braith­waite worked as chief pub­lic af­fairs of­fi­cer at the Navy Yard in Philadel­phia in 1990 and got a Mas­ter’s de­gree in gov­ern­ment ad­min­is­tra­tion from the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia in 1995.

Dur­ing the 1990s, Braith­waite served as a borough coun­cil­man in Ri­d­ley. He also worked for Sen. Arlen Specter from 1997 to 2000 as a state di­rec­tor. He com­manded the NR Fleet Com­bat Cam­era At­lantic at Naval Air Sta­tion in Wil­low Grove and pro­vided sup­port in Guan­tanamo Bay and Op­er­a­tion

Iraqi Free­dom.

In 2007, he be­came se­nior vice pres­i­dent of Hospi­tal and Health­sys­tem As­so­ci­a­tion of Penn­syl­va­nia and the head of the Delaware Val­ley Health­care Coun­cil, a re­gional group rep­re­sent­ing full-ser­vice hos­pi­tals. In that ca­pac­ity he was a spokesman on var­i­ous is­sues con­fronting hos­pi­tals and health­care providers.

Braith­waite is a reg­is­tered Repub­li­can who last voted in the 2016 gen­eral election, ac­cord­ing to vot­ing records.

His wife, Melissa, was in­ter­viewed by the In­quirer at an Ivanka Trump event in Oc­to­ber 2016. At the event she said she was un­con­cerned with lewd com­ments Trump made about women, caught on a Ac­cess Hol­ly­wood video in 2005.

“The com­ments that he made on that tape, that was a per­sonal con­ver­sa­tion,” said Braith­waite, 46, a stayat-home mother from West Ch­ester. “I was not of­fended by that at all.”

He be­came a rear ad­mi­ral in 2007 and was nom­i­nated to be am­bas­sador to Nor­way in Novem­ber 2017. In an ad­dress to Congress that year, Braith­waite thanked his wife and two chil­dren, Grace and Har­ri­son. He also paid homage to his for­mer boss.

“As Sen. Arlen Specter told me so many years ago when I worked for him, that the rea­son we serve is to en­sure that our chil­dren and our chil­dren’s chil­dren in­herit the same great coun­try that we re­ceived from those who went be­fore us,” he said.

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