Argentine Ambassador to the United States, Martín Lousteau, will most likely leave his post and return to Argentina before President-elect of the United States Donald Trump takes office on January 20, 2017.
It was always clear that Lousteau wasn’t going to have a lengthy stay in Washington. He was always open about his intention to take part in the City of Buenos Aires’ Mayoral run in 2019. Despite that particular election still being a ways away, Lousteau — who came in second in the City’s 2015 elections, losing to PRO’s Horacio Rodríguez Larreta in the runoff — needs to run in next year’s midterm elections if he plans to return to national politics and start building his candidacy.
In addition to his political goals in Argentina, his departure from his post in the US has come a bit sooner than originally planned for another reason. Argentina’s government is appearing to be in a process of restructuring positions after many in current administration openly endorsed Secretary Hillary Clinton.
Throughout the entire campaign process, high ranking Argentine government officials — President Mauricio Macri and Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra included — left all diplomatic caution aside by making it clear they would much rather have Clinton in the White House.
After Trump’s unexpected victory, the government switched gears to damage control and began adapting in order to build a relationship with the transition team that will take over the White House as quickly as possible. Boosting the bilateral relationship with the United States is still one of the Macri administration’s main foreign policy goals, after all.
Different outlets reported that Malcorra — under heavy fire for her numerous statements in favor of Clinton, seen by many as a diplomatic mistake — managed to allegedly speak to one of Trump’s sons, Eric, to arrange a phone conversation between both heads of state. The third child of the real estate mogul also put Malcorra in touch with his father’s foreign relations team, La Nación reports.
Lousteau’s departure could be interpreted as another gesture towards assuaging the diplomatic debacle, as he was a vocal supporter of Clinton during her bid for the White House. Days before the election the Argentine ambassador said the current administration considered a Clinton presidency to be “simpler” when compared to the alternative. Moreover, hours before the polls opened in the US last Tuesday, Lousteau said that Trump ran “a reality show campaign.”
“We don’t have a free trade agreement with them, but that doesn’t mean it [a Trump presidency and the protectionist policies he would bring with to the White House] doesn’t worry us,” he said. Lousteau has now come out to deny he had actually supported the Democratic candidate: “I didn’t say anything in Hillary’s favor, not in Argentina nor in the cables that I sent,” he said in an interview with Vorterix radio.
“In the national government there are people who have a previous relationship with the Democratic party. In a short period of time Argentina managed to turn around its relationship with the US, but with an administration that is now on its way out the door.” Lousteau claims that his statements were made under the context that “continuity would make things easier. That’s describing something, not endorsing it.”
Sources from the Casa Rosada told Perfil his return is not a punishment, but only had to do with his desire to return to national politics. “Martín always said he was thinking of coming back.” There are still no concrete candidates to succeed him.