The next U.S. ambassador to South Africa is likely to be a designer of six-figure handbags whose primary qualification for the job is her membership at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, according to ThinkProgress.
While Lana Marks has no diplomatic experience to speak of, she does have a history of fabricating her past and a handful of legal troubles, the outlet reported.
> Her nomination would mean that Mar-a-Lago, one of Trump’s favorite destinations, has now produced at least four individuals Trump has selected as ambassadors. In addition to Marks, Robin Bernstein, one of Mar-a-Lago’s founding members, became the U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic under Trump. Two other members — Patrick Park and Brian Burns — were nominated by the president to ambassadorial positions in Austria and Ireland, respectively, but eventually declined the nominations.
> While Trump appears to be continuing a long-standing American tradition of nominating donors and supporters to relatively low-key ambassadorial positions, the selection comes at a period of relative friction between the U.S. and South Africa.
> Earlier this year, Trump accused the South African government of not doing enough to combat so-called “large scale killing” in the country, allegedly against white South African farmers. While killings have taken place, the so-called “farm murders,” which have become a favorite talking point among the far-right, don’t appear nearly as treacherous as Trump made them out to be.
Marks brings with her several accusations of making up details of her past, including athletic accomplishments with no record to back up the claims.
> For instance, Marks claimed that she had previously played tennis in the French Open — a claim that records don’t back up. The South African Business Live outlet also noted that Marks’ claim that she played in the 1985 Maccabi Games appears questionable. While Marks claimed she played for the Bermuda team, the Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association noted that she had participated “without their knowledge.”
As for her legal issues?
> As the Palm Beach Daily News wrote, “Marks has repeatedly been accused of stiffing her attorneys, accountants, landlords and employees. She is also embroiled in bitter, international legal battles in South Africa and Israel with her siblings over a family trust and the care for their 89-year-old mother.”