Trump signs order to ‘rebrand’ US foreign assistance

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has signed an order requiring that all U.S. foreign assistance be “rebranded” to ensure that recipients know that American taxpayers have paid for it.

Trump on Thursday directed the 22 federal agencies that distribute U.S. aid abroad to use a common logo on their packaging. Currently, different agencies — from the United States Agency for International Development to the Department of Agriculture — use different logos on items that range from sacks of grain to medical supplies, tents and water purification kits.

That has created confusion in some countries, according to U.S. officials who say that aid from other nations, like China, is readily identifiable with standardized logos.

“To foster goodwill between the recipients of United States foreign assistance and the American people, and to encourage the governments of nations that are receiving foreign assistance to support the United States, it is essential that recipients of United States foreign assistance be aware of the manifold efforts of American taxpayers to aid them and improve their lives,” the White House said.

“To further this awareness and to ensure United States foreign assistance supports the foreign policy objectives of the United States and maintains American influence and leadership, such assistance must appropriately and conspicuously be identified as American aid,” it said.

The executive order gives the president 30 days to choose a logo and then provides for a 120-day period for that choice to be implemented. There had been concerns that such an order could allow Trump in his final weeks in office to affix his own name to international assistance, but officials downplayed those concerns. They noted that a final decision on the new logo would ultimately fall to the next administration.

Two senior U.S. officials briefed on the decision said they expected that Trump’s choice for a logo would be an American flag but could not rule out other options. The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.