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Trial Balloons

'Hamilton,' Trump and Diversity

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

President-elect Donald Trump says Brandon Victor Dixon, the actor who currently plays Aaron Burr in the Broadway musical "Hamilton," should apologize for his tacky lecturing of Vice-President-elect Mike Pence about diversity and the "fear" of people like himself, an African-American, about a Trump-Pence administration.

Conservatives are denouncing the incident. Some are calling for a boycott of the show, which is sold out for months to come. But wait. Lessons can be learned from any situation.

When some liberals use the word "diversity" they are not talking about diversity of thought or ideology, they mean people who think alike, but who are different in outward appearance. Otherwise the left would celebrate successful conservatives from different racial and ethnic groups.

Looking at the people coming and going from Trump Tower and Trump's golf resort in New Jersey, I have observed only two women (not counting Kellaynne Conway) who is not the spouse of a man being interviewed for a possible job in the new administration. They are Michelle Rhee, the reform-minded former head of the Washington, D.C., public school system, and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, to be the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. That's a start.

One does not need to fall into the liberal diversity trap to suggest that the Trump team seriously consider some conservative and qualified people other than white males for high positions in the administration.

I nominate K.T. McFarland for either U.N. ambassador, or secretary of defense. McFarland was among the first few women in the national security field. Beginning in the 1970s, she held positions in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations. After leaving government, she went home to raise five children, but returned to the arena after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. She is currently a commentator on Fox News where she speaks with authority.

If this isn't enough to attract Trump and Pence to her, McFarland tells me she was "an early and outspoken Trump supporter," even when he was being attacked for being anti-woman. She also was on his national security advisory committee and briefed him before the debates.

McFarland's resume is long and impressive. She would bring strength, knowledge, experience and, yes, a strong female voice, to what so far looks like a mostly boys' club.

McFarland served as deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration. She has also been a chief speechwriter, spokesperson and one of the highest-ranking women at the Pentagon. She wrote the Weinberger Principles of War, which came to be known as the "Weinberger Doctrine," that outlined the six basic conditions the U.S. should consider before using force in international situations.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at George Washington University, a Master of Arts degree at Oxford and studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Ph.D. program, all but dissertation) with concentrations on nuclear weapons, China and the Soviet Union. She was on Henry Kissinger's National Security Council staff as a college freshman, working the night secretarial shift in the Situation Room. She was there during many critical moments in U.S. foreign policy, including the opening to China, detente and arms control, Middle East peace negotiations and the Paris Peace Accords.

Every new president needs loyal and trustworthy people around him. He also needs experienced and knowledgeable people. McFarland has proved more than her loyalty to the presidents she has served. She has shown she has the intellectual strength and real-world experience to enhance the new administration and to offer advice that will be in the best interests of the nation.

If Trump and Pence don't take advantage of her skill and institutional knowledge they will be missing a grand opportunity. An added plus: McFarland would force the diversity police to shift the conversation from gender, race and ethnicity, to ideology, about which they are anything but diverse.

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