WASHINGTON – Roughly a decade after his Wisconsin political career came to an unwelcome end, Mark Green said he’s happy to be watching politics from the outside —in the “cheap seats.”

“These are interesting times to be in politics. I am delighted to be in a nonpolitical” role, said Green, who was picked by President Donald Trump to be his top foreign aid official and assumed the job in early August. He is currently making his first foreign trip in that role, traveling to Sudan and Ethiopia. 

A former GOP state legislator, Green Bay congressman and losing candidate for governor in 2006, Green is the new administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

It’s the latest stop in a second government career that began in 2007 with the ambassadorship to Tanzania and has been devoted largely to diplomacy and global challenges such as disease and poverty.

As Green suggests, his new job is about as far away from partisan politics as it gets in a presidential administration — overseeing U.S. humanitarian aid and development programs.

“One of the great privileges of the work we do is we’re in a political safe zone,” he said in a recent interview in his downtown Washington office. 

Of course, the idea of a “political safe zone” in Washington is very much in question these days. After all, Green is a high-level Trump appointee in a tumultuous presidency that has generated fierce reactions in the U.S. and abroad.

Asked whether he had any qualms when he accepted the job, Green — a collegial, low-key figure whose appointment drew bipartisan support — deflected the question.

“I went to see the president-elect in New York. He asked me good questions,” Green said….