18th U.S. Trade Representative
Wednesday, July 19, 2023
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Fred P. Hochberg
Robert Emmet Lighthizer is an American attorney and government official who served as the United States Trade Representative from 2017 to 2021.
After he graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 1973, Lighthizer joined the firm of Covington and Burling in Washington, D.C. He left the firm in 1978 to serve as chief minority counsel and later staff director and chief of staff of the Senate Committee on Finance under Chairman Bob Dole. In 1983, Robert Lighthizer was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as Deputy U.S. Trade Representative for President Ronald Reagan. In 1985, Lighthizer joined the Washington office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP as a partner and led the firm's international trade group. On January 3, 2017, President-elect Donald Trump announced that he intended to nominate Lighthizer as his U.S. Trade Representative. Lighthizer was confirmed by the Senate on May 11, 2017, by a vote of 82–14. Along with other Cabinet-level officials in the Trump Administration, he left office on January 20, 2021, following the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
Lighthizer was born in 1947 to Orville James and Michaelene Lighthizer in Ashtabula, Ohio, where his father practiced medicine. He attended Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills, Ohio, and later graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Arts in 1969 and a Juris Doctor in 1973.