Ken Isaacs, the U.S. candidate to head the International Organization for Migration, during a press briefing at the UN headquarters in New York City on May 4, 2018. Photo: EuropaNewswire/Gado via Getty Images

Member states of the International Organization of Migration rejected Ken Isaacs, the U.S. pick to lead the organization — a break with precedent that marks a striking rebuke of the Trump administration.

Why it matters: The move constitutes a pointed blow — delivered not without risk. The U.S. contributes roughly a third of the organization’s $1 billion operating budget and some fear that President Trump could retaliate by slashing funding.

The background: By tradition, the U.S. pick for the post gets to fill it. As a result, an American has been at the helm for decades. But President Trump’s “America first” migration policies are controversial, and so was his nominee. A former Bush administration official and a vice president of Samaritan’s Purse, Isaacs came under scrutiny for sharing anti-Islam views on Twitter.

Jessica Brandt is a fellow in the foreign policy program at the Brookings Institution.

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