Thursday, March 16, 2017; Washington D.C.- In an interview airing today on All Things Considered, NPR's Robert Siegel spoke with Andrew Natsios, former USAID chief under George W. Bush. Natsios characterized the proposed budget cuts to the State Department as shortsighted and a misreading of threats to the U.S. He also said the cuts would be out of step with previous administrations.
The interview will air at 4:10 p.m. ET on All Things Considered.
Stations and broadcast times are available at NPR.org/stations.
Excerpts from the interview:
When asked how the proposed budget cuts measure up to the policy priorities of previous presidents, Natsios said:
"In many respects these cuts are an attack on Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush because they were among the leading increasers of foreign aid among all presidents. President Reagan started the Democracy in Governance program in 1985 when he was president and this would require gutting that program."
When asked about Sec. of State Tillerson's claim that State Department cuts reflect the expectation that the United States will be engaged in fewer foreign conflicts, Natsios said:
"I think he's wrong. One: State and AID were never staffed for wartime purposes and the attempt was made to increase the staffing so that it can respond to contingencies. So I think the notion that the administration seems to have, that there aren't going to be any threats to the United States that requires soft power response, is nonsense.
Audio and transcript will be available on NPR.org later today.
Ben Fishel, NPR Media Relations