Four months after taking over from Jerry Brown, Gavin Newson headed south some 3,000 miles to El Salvador. The California governor left little doubt that the trip was to challenge the immigration policies of President Donald Trump.
Newsom claimed he would address the basic reasons Salvadorans flee to California, and he set out to boost the tourist industry in El Salvador, where the beaches boast “some of the best waves in the world.” That got plenty of publicity but another reason for the trip was overlooked.
When Gavin Newsom is out of state, the lieutenant governor becomes governor of California. So Newsom was giving some love to Eleni Kounalakis, who boasts a back story of considerable interest.
Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis is the daughter of Angelo Tsakopoulos, a real-estate tycoon with a net worth of $600 million. According to Greek USA Reporter, Angelo is a “top political donor to the Clintons as well as the Democratic Party,” and Angelo’s “donations to former President Bill Clinton were rewarded with a night in the prestigious Lincoln Bedroom.” In 2013 Tsakopoulos, “confirmed that Hillary Clinton will seek the Democratic nomination in the next Presidential election.”
Angelo’s daughter Eleni, a protégé of Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer, raised more than $1 million for Hillary Clinton in 2008 and that money found its reward. On January 7, 2010, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton swore in Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary. This was pay-for-play in the best Clinton style.
Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis served as ambassador until 2013 and in 2016 Eleni showed up in Wikileaks stating that “HRC indicated her view that it would be best to avoid Grexit.” Kounalakis also did her best to beat back a presidential run by Joe Biden, and in that cause she enjoyed the promotional services of husband Markos Kounalakis, a columnist for McClatchy Newspapers, publishers of the Sacramento Bee.
“In choosing female leaders, U.S. trails many nations,” ran the headline on the April 30, 2016, column in which Markos contended that a woman president “would be following the lead not only of the world’s most developed nations, but of many countries spanning a broad economic and political spectrum.” Markos explains that it took the elevation of Nancy Pelosi to the role of House Speaker to change the North American meaning of “a woman’s place is in the house.”
And here in the United States, Markos wrote, “it may soon be that a woman’s place is in the most important house of all – the White House.” As Markos admits, “My wife served as a U.S. ambassador under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and actively supports her.” This is the only time this writer can recall such a disclosure from Markos, who also “actively supports” Hillary Clinton.
“Presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton included a third participant: Vladimir Putin, standing in the background, stealthily inserting himself in the process,” Markos wrote in his October 30, 2016 Sacramento Bee column headlined “Putin’s powerful playbook: Hack, steal, disrupt, mislead, confuse.” Putin “uses deniable cyber-hooliganism to actively prank the American political system,” while “Putinocracy relies on spreading the lie that all systems are corrupt.” And it gets worse.
“Unfortunately, the Republican presidential nominee reinforces this narrative, referring to a ‘rigged’ system and an indictable opponent.” In light of the Mueller investigation, which found no collusion, this is more of a Clinton-deep state press release than it seemed at the time. During the campaign, Eleni touted a “Chipotle-type moment in Sacramento” for Hillary, but she lost to Donald Trump, and that played a role in Eleni’s decision to run for Lt. Governor.
As Eleni explained, she would use the office as “a bully pulpit to stand up to the biggest bully in America – Donald Trump.” Mother Jones pointed out that her wealthy father donated more than $5 million to her campaign, yet she criticized Republican Cole Harris for donating $2.2 million of his own money. This too was a revelation.
Some celebrities pay to get their unqualified kids admitted to prestige universities. Tycoon Angelo Tsakopoulos paid big bucks to make his daughter a political contender, and besides daddy’s money, Eleni has faithful husband Markos.
As the Lt. Governor’s official site explains, “Dr. Markos Kounalakis is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated foreign affairs columnist, author, and scholar. Wars and revolutions are where Markos cut his teeth as a foreign correspondent.” His columns “not only offer strong prose and strong opinions, they offer an education” and in 2017 “President Barack Obama appointed Dr. Kounalakis to the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.” So no surprise that Markos’ “strong” columns were kind to POTUS 44.
An April 11, 2019 column on Trump and Cuban baseball identifies Kounalakis as “a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution” and an “A’s fan during Jose Canseco’s reign.” On the other hand, Markos Kounalakis is not identified as the husband of California’s Lt. Governor. And when Gavin Newsom is away attending his Salvadoran constituents, Eleni Kounalakis becomes the actual governor of California.
If Gavin Newsom runs for president, Kounalakis may run for governor, or even higher office. In that quest, Eleni will again deploy daddy’s money and promotional support from Markos, who believes that a woman’s proper place is in the White House. Eleni gets all this, plus California’s imported electoral college, from places like El Salvador and Mexico. For Clinton cronies, California offers the best of all possible worlds.