Former Nassau Republican chairman Joseph Mondello, who was confirmed at the end of June to be President Donald Trump’s ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, expects to finally take up his duties in the Caribbean islands this month.
“Fairly soon,” he said. “I don’t have a date certain yet.”
Mondello, who served 35 years as the county’s GOP leader, said he received his diplomatic passports and visas last week and was awaiting final documentation from Washington before departing Long Island.
“I’m in touch with Trinidad every single day,” he said. “I’m anxious to go . . . There’s a lot of protocol that has to be handled but I’m looking forward to it, meeting the people, talking to the school kids.”
Trump has done some saber-rattling about Venezuela, where a severe economic crisis has led millions to flee the country amid food and medicine shortages. Trinidad, less than seven miles from the Venezuela coastline, could be a staging area for any U.S. action. In addition, Mondello testified at his hearing about ISIS recruitment in Trinidad. China and Russia also have interests in the islands.
Is Mondello, 80, ready for possible international tumult?
“Am I prepared for that? Yes I am,” he said, explaining that he had undergone seven weeks of training, including a course in counterterrorism. “I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”
“I was chairman for a long time. To go into something new now, it’s an adventure and a challenge,” he said.