President Donald Trump’s selection of government officials has been scrutinized from the start, as headlines have highlighted the past big bank executives and family friends that now sit in top government positions. Lynne Patton’s recent appointment to the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s New York and New Jersey office is no different.
An article in The New York Times by Yamiche Alcindor unpacks Patton’s side of the story, along with her background on how she came into this position, a timeline that so far has been highly questioned.
The article explains that Patton is a longtime Trump family associate who worked on the president’s campaign. She was also the vice president of the Eric Trump Foundation and served as a lead liaison between the Trump family and government officials for nearly a decade.
However, people have been quick to point out her role as an event planner as well, which includes once organizing golf tournaments on the president’s courses and helping plan Eric Trump’s wedding.
From The New York Times:
“The misdirected discontent with my boss has prevented people from seeing the obvious fact that I am, more than anyone, best suited to serve as this liaison because, after all, I have a direct line to both the secretary and the president of the United States,” she said. “I’m not going to hesitate to use them, either, to fortify or defend the housing needs and affordable housing concerns of Region II.”
While some see her appointment as a symbol of nepotism, Ms. Patton sees it as giving residents of New York and New Jersey an advocate with unprecedented access to those in charge. While critics see her background as lacking, she sees herself as a representation of the president’s promise to shake things up and incorporate private-sector ideals into the government. And while many have cast her as an unqualified wedding planner, she sees the label as a result of a rumor.
Comments about Patton’s lack of experience sound all too familiar. When Trump first tapped current HUD Secretary Ben Carson, the housing industry, and public, quickly called out his lack of experience in housing. But despite a controversial start to his nomination, it turned out to be all bark and no bite as his hearing went fairly smooth.
Plus, the industry would later welcome the nomination of Pam Patenaude to serve as HUD deputy secretary, the right-hand position to Carson. Patenaude currently serves as the president of the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America’s Families, previously served as the director of housing policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, and served as the Department of Housing and Urban Development assistant secretary for community, planning and development under President George W. Bush.