President Trump has nominated business executive Marie Royce, whose husband is the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, to a senior position at the State Department, the White House announced Wednesday.
Royce, who was nominated to serve as an assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs, has built a 30-year career in the hospitality and telecommunications industries. She was previously appointed to the State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy as a representative of the private sector, and has played a role in facilitating various government-sponsored exchange programs, with a particular focus on economic development and youth and gender issues. She has received awards for her international engagement, and worked as a university professor as well.
But if confirmed, Royce would hold a senior position at the department over which her husband, Rep. Edward R. Royce (R-Calif.) has jurisdiction over as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Royce congratulated his wife on her appointment via his official Twitter page on Wednesday, saying that “her extensive experience in international business and trade makes her uniquely qualified” for the position. A committee aide added that Royce had played no role in his wife’s selection for the position, and that she secured the position on her own merit.
When asked if Royce would recuse himself over matters involving his wife’s position, the aide said that “rigorous oversight of the State Department will continue.”
If Marie Royce is confirmed to the State Department position, the amount of time her service will overlap with Royce’s tenure as chairman of the panel that oversees her job will be limited. House GOP rules limit members from serving more than six years as chairman of any committee; Royce hits that endpoint at the end of his current term in 2019.
Royce will not play a role in his wife’s confirmation process, as it is the Senate role alone to confirm executive and judicial branch nominees.