- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 6, 2019

President Trump on Wednesday nominated David Malpass to lead the World Bank, selecting an ally who shares his “America First” skepticism of large, multilateral institutions like the bank itself.

Mr. Trump said Mr. Malpass, a 62-year-old economist and Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, has four decades of international experience and will make sure the bank doles out funds to deserving causes.

“My administration has made it a top priority to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently and wisely, serve American interests and reflect American values,” said the president, who characterized Mr. Malpass as a longtime supporter.

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Flanked by family and Cabinet members at the White House, Mr. Malpass said his agenda will ensure that women enjoy the full benefits of developing economies. He said that’s a primary goal of the president’s daughter, White House adviser Ivanka Trump, who worked on the search.

The World Bank is a global financial institution that doles out loans to developing nations that want to launch capital projects or reduce poverty. It is controlled by larger, developed nations, with the U.S. serving as its biggest shareholder.

Mr. Malpass’s nomination must be ratified by shareholder nations on the bank’s board. If approved, he would replace Jim Yong Kim, who resigned to take a private-sector job in January even though he had three years left in his term.

In the past, Mr. Malpass has urged the bank to be more transparent, efficient and focus on the world’s poorest countries, which need the most help. He’s suggested countries like China — the bank’s biggest borrower — don’t need the assistance, noting in 2017 the Asian powerhouse has “plenty of resources.”

Senior administration officials stopped short of saying Mr. Malpass would push to cut off China completely, pointing to his longstanding relationship with Chinese officials and deep involvement in ongoing trade talks.

He is set to accompany U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to China next week for additional negotiations.

Mr. Malpass served in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations before serving as chief economist at Bear Stearns, which failed amid the 2008 financial crisis.

Critics have needled Mr. Malpass over a 2007 Wall Street Journal op-ed that appeared to misjudge concerns over a potential economic downturn.

“Housing and debt markets are not that big a part of the U.S. economy, or of job creation,” he wrote.

The U.S. has major sway over who leads the World Bank, however, so critics are unlikely to derail his nomination.

Traditionally, the U.S. gets to pick who leads the World Bank, while Europe dictates who will helm the International Monetary Fund.

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