R. Clarke Cooper

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R. Clarke Cooper
R. Clarke Cooper official photo.jpg
Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs
Assumed office
May 2, 2019
PresidentDonald Trump
SecretaryMike Pompeo
Preceded byPuneet Talwar
Personal details
BornWhite Sands Missile Range, New Mexico
Political partyRepublican
Alma materFlorida State University

René Clarke Cooper is an American political figure and the current Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs. He was appointed Executive Director of Log Cabin Republicans in 2010.[1] On June 28, 2018, Donald Trump nominated Cooper to be Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs. He was confirmed by the Senate on April 30, 2019 and assumed office on May 2, 2019.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Cooper was born in New Mexico when his late father was assigned to the White Sands Missile Range. He was raised in North Florida where he attained the rank of Eagle Scout and served as student body president of Leon High School in Tallahassee, Florida and earned a Bachelor of Science in history from Florida State University. There, he was senior class president, president of Pi Kappa Phi and rowed for the men's heavy weight crew.

Immediately following graduation from FSU in 1994, Cooper joined the Washington, D.C. staff of Florida Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. He then worked with her husband, former U.S. Attorney Dexter W. Lehtinen, as a lobbyist for the Miccosukee Tribe. During these years, Cooper become involved in Republican Party politics and campaigns including serving as a national committeeman for the Young Republicans. After serving in the George W. Bush Administration, Cooper would go back to lobbying for the Miccosukee in 2009.

In 1998, Cooper served as a field coordinator for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush's successful 1998 gubernatorial campaign against Buddy MacKay and was subsequently appointed Deputy Director of the State of Florida's Washington Office.[3] There he was charged with advancing state interests related appropriation requests before the United States Congress and federal agencies. Cooper served on the state's negotiating team for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) alongside Governor Bush, Secretary of Environmental Protection, David Struhs and Everglades Czar, J. Allison DeFoor[4]

Military service[edit]

While serving Governor Bush, Cooper was recruited into the U.S. Army Reserve. Cooper accepted commission as a Second Lieutenant in August 2001 at Fort Meade, Maryland. He graduated from the U.S. Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia and the Intelligence School at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. In 2004 he went to Iraq as an Army Reserve officer on active duty with Combined Joint Task Force-7 and later Multi-National Force Iraq. In Iraq, Cooper served as the Aide-de-Camp to the late Major General Charles H. Davidson IV. While Aide to Davidson, Cooper was known for actively advocating for the protection of archeological sites and artifacts, particularly the ancient city of Babylon.[5] Cooper previously served as a Captain for the Africa Command J-2 and has since been promoted to Major.[6]

Role in George W. Bush Administration[edit]

In 2001, Cooper joined the ranks of White House appointees as an Assistant Director of National Park Service where he advocated for greater access to public lands and was part of Interior Secretary Gale Norton's efforts to challenge Clinton Administration executive orders restricting use and access of public lands. During the first term of the Bush Administration, Cooper was soon called to active military duty by the Department of Defense. During the second term, Cooper served several diplomatic postings including United States Embassy in Baghdad, where as an advisor to Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, often travelled with members of Congress in the Middle East region.[7] His final Department of State posting was at the United States Mission to the United Nations where he served as Counselor for United Nations Management & Reform and as an Alternative Representative to the United Nations Security Council.[8][9][10][11]

Trump Administration[edit]

President Donald J. trump nominated R. Clarke Cooper to be the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs.[12][13]

Log Cabin Republicans[edit]

In May 2010, Cooper was elected executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans.[14][15] At the time, former Governor Jeb Bush noted, "During my administration, Clarke was part of an excellent team that built improved relations with the federal government that benefited the citizens of Florida. He proved himself to be hardworking and results driven and a genuine public servant." Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman and LGBT Equality Caucus member, welcomed Cooper's election stating "I have known Clarke his entire career from when he served on my legislative staff and am thrilled to see him lead Log Cabin. I look forward to working with him to further advocate and secure equal rights for all Americans." Cooper is a registered lobbyist for the organization, which works to build a stronger, more inclusive Republican Party through the promotion of core conservative values and advocating for the freedom and equality of LGBT Americans.[16] The 30-year-old conservative organization has state and local chapters nationwide, a full-time staff in Washington, DC, a federal political action committee and state political action committees. He advocated the need for open service before the Congress while leveraging the U.S. Supreme Court case of Log Cabin Republicans v. United States.[17][18][19] In 2011, social conservatives took issue when Cooper was asked to join the Republican National Committee's finance committee.

In March 2012, Cooper became an op-ed columnist for The Washington Times, writing a column called "Politics and Pride," focusing on political issues from a conservative LGBT perspective.[20]

In 2013, Cooper was a signatory to an amicus curiae brief submitted to the United States Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage during the Hollingsworth v. Perry case.[21]

Awards and decorations[edit]


  • Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, US Department of Defense
  • Combat Action Badge, US Department of Defense
  • Joint Meritorious Unit Award, US Department of Defense
  • Iraq Campaign Medal with Two Stars, US Department of Defense
  • Global War On Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, US Department of Defense
  • Global War On Terrorism Medal, US Department of Defense
  • Armed Forces Reserve Mobilization Medal Overseas Service Ribbon, US Department of Defense
  • Joint Service Commendation Medal, US Department of Defense
  • Parachutist Badge, US Department of Defense
  • National Defense Medal, US Department of Defense
  • Army Service Ribbon, US Department of Defense


Personal life[edit]

Cooper belongs to St. Paul's Episcopal Parish, K Street in Washington, DC. During his time in Iraq, Cooper was known to work with The Reverend Canon Andrew White, the Vicar of St. George's Parish in Baghdad and the Archbishop of Canterbury's Representative in Iraq. During his childhood, Cooper's mother was active in the charismatic renewal movement within the Episcopal Church of the United States.

A multi-generational Freemason, Cooper was made a Master Mason in 1997 at Federal Lodge Number 1, Free and Associated Masons. He attained the 32nd degree of the Scottish Rite in 1998.

Cooper is married to Michael J. Marin, a fellow Army officer.[2][6]


  1. ^ New Executive Director. Log Cabin Republicans Names R. Clarke Cooper as New National Executive Director Archived 2013-04-15 at Archive.today, 2010-05, accessed 2010-06-28
  2. ^ a b "R. Clarke Cooper". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on 2019-05-07. Retrieved 2019-05-08.
  3. ^ "CREC" (PDF). www.gpo.gov. 2000.
  4. ^ DeFoor.http://congressionalrecord.us/2000/PDF/h10361.pdf
  5. ^ Grist, Charles M. (24 March 2007). "American Ranger: The Gold Convoy".
  6. ^ a b "Our Supporters" (PDF). Meridian International Center. 2017-08-31. Retrieved 2019-05-08.
  7. ^ C-SPAN, Congressional Delegation in Iraq http://www.c-spanvideo.org/clarkcooper
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ [2][dead link]
  10. ^ United Nations, Statement before Economic & Social Council "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-10-08. Retrieved 2010-09-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ United Nations, Statement at closing of the 62nd General Assembly "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-10-08. Retrieved 2010-09-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Trump names former Log Cabin chief to senior State Dept. post". 28 June 2018.
  13. ^ "President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Personnel to Key Administration Posts". The White House.
  14. ^ R. Clarke Cooper Named New LCR Executive Director: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-08-04. Retrieved 2012-05-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ Advocate, Interview with New Executive Director Cooper "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-10-25. Retrieved 2010-09-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ CNN, Gays, lesbians and the GOP https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3T3wQtiXFs
  17. ^ Army Times, Gay GOP group fights Don't Ask, Don't Tell http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/10/ap-gop-dadt-rights-clarke-cooper-102210/
  18. ^ Fox News, Court Orders Immediate Halt to DADT http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/07/06/court-orders-immediate-halt-to-gay-military-ban/
  19. ^ "Manning's defense dishonors gay GIs". Stars and Stripes.
  20. ^ Washington Times, Politics & Pride Column http://communities.washingtontimes.com/staff/r-clarke-cooper/
  21. ^ Avlon, John (28 February 2013). "The Pro-Freedom Republicans Are Coming: 131 Sign Gay Marriage Brief" – via www.thedailybeast.com.
  22. ^ "Order of St John". www.london-gazette.co.uk.

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