Bill Taylor, the former Ambassador to Ukraine who is testifying publicly in the impeachment inquiry, has an interesting family tie: He’s the first cousin of the former Second Lady of the United States, Tipper Gore, the estranged wife of former Vice President Al Gore.
Bill Taylor Jr. is a career foreign service officer and Vietnam War veteran with experience in the Middle East. Specifically, he’s now known as the chargé d’affaires to Ukraine. His family has deep roots in Virginia, biographical research into Taylor shows.
The Tipper Gore connection comes through Taylor’s mother’s line. According to her 2015 obituary, Taylor’s mother, Nancy Aitcheson Taylor, was the younger sister of Tipper’s dad, John Kenneth Aitcheson Jr. John’s obituary also refers to this sibling link.
That means that the parents of Bill Taylor and Tipper Gore were siblings, and they share the same set of grandparents, John Kenneth Aitcheson Sr. and Virginia Dare Aitcheson. Ancestry records also confirm the link. It’s not clear, however, how well-acquainted or close Tipper Gore and Bill Taylor are, and there are certainly many first cousins who don’t share much in common when it comes to politics.
The grandfather Tipper and Bill Taylor share – John Kenneth Aitcheson Sr. – died in 1974 of congestive heart failure. His death certificate mentions his son, John Kenneth Aitcheson Jr., Tipper Gore’s father, and John Jr.’s plumbing business.
Here’s what you need to know:
Bill Taylor Is a Vietnam Veteran Who Has Served in the Administrations of Presidents From Both Parties & Once Worked for Bill Bradley
Bill Taylor is a Vietnam and Army veteran and a graduate of West Point, was recently a leader at the U.S. Institute of Peace, oversaw U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq for a year, and is currently chargé d’affaires for the U.S. government to Ukraine (chosen by Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo). He has served in the administrations of presidents from both political parties. He’s married to a religious scholar named Deborah Furlan Taylor, and is the father of two children.
A career diplomat, he once “served on the staff of Senator Bill Bradley,” according to his Embassy bio. Bradley was a Democrat who was the U.S. Senator from New Jersey. Bios of Taylor don’t tend to mention his familial tie to Tipper Gore. “Taylor is among the country’s most experienced diplomats, and has served in every administration of both parties since 1985,” a New York Times profile on him says. Officials who served presidents in both parties have praised his career and character.
President Trump has called Taylor a “Never Trumper.” CNN reported there is no evidence for this or political donations under Taylor’s name and other identifying information. His wife once donated to a Democratic PAC, 21st Century Democrats, which endorsed Barack Obama’s Senate campaign, Congressional records show. Republican President George W. Bush appointed Bill Taylor ambassador to Ukraine in 2006. That year, Congressional records show, Taylor disclosed his wife’s donation (and his dad’s numerous donations to Republicans, the Republican National Committee and Republican Party). He also confirmed that his grandparents were John Kenneth Aitcheson and Virginia Dare Aitcheson.
Taylor’s lawyer John Bellinger is a Republican who has been publicly critical of Trump, according to CNN.
Bill Taylor’s text message to Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the EU and a wealthy GOP donor and hotelier, is now the focal point of controversy over President Donald Trump and Ukraine. “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” Taylor wrote to Sondland on September 9, 2019 at 12:47 a.m. You can see the full text exchanges released by the House here. You can read Taylor’s statement to House lawmakers here. His full name is William B. Taylor Jr. (William Brockenbrough Taylor Jr.) Taylor is testifying publicly during the impeachment inquiry on November 13, 2019.
Taylor’s Mother Nancy Aitcheson Taylor Was Active in Her Episcopal Church & Was an Artist & the Younger Sister of Tipper Gore’s Dad
Nancy Aitcheson Taylor is buried with her husband, William Brockenbrough Taylor Sr., a former NASA manager, in Arlington National Cemetery.
Taylor’s mother Nancy died in 2015. His father’s obit says that Taylor has four siblings. They are Anne Taylor Cregger Patterson, Paul Kenneth Taylor, Katharine Taylor, and David Aitcheson Taylor. The actor Zach Cregger is Bill Taylor’s nephew (his IMDB biography mentions that Zach is Tipper’s first cousin once removed).
According to an obituary for Taylor’s dad in the Virginian Pilot, the elder William Brockenbrough Taylor Sr. died at age 86 in 2011. “He was a U.S. Army veteran and was manager for the Army Corps of Engineers and NASA Apollo program. He was a founder of St. James’ Episcopal Church,” the obit says.
Nancy’s obit says that she helped run the household when her husband came down with polio. “For a year that Bill spent in an ‘iron lung’ at Walter Reed Hospital, she visited him daily, driving through Washington, DC and back to their home near Mt. Vernon to care for three small children,” her obit reads.
Bill Taylor is a Mount Vernon grad.
Nancy Aitcheson Taylor, the mother of Bill Taylor Jr., was “an accomplished artist and singer, avid gardener and lover of nature, and a warm and generous friend to all who knew her,” her 2015 obituary reads.
“She was active in the life of St. James Episcopal Church from its founding in the 1950s, and sang in the church choir, a strong clear voice in the soprano section until just months before her passing,” it says. She was described as working “in the art department of the Hecht Co. and as an art teacher in Alexandria public schools.”
“Born February 19, 1925 in Alexandria, Virginia, to Virginia Dare and John Kenneth Aitcheson, Nancy had an older brother, John Kenneth Jr.,” her obit says. She was credited with imbuing in her five children “a love of beauty, strength of purpose, and caring.”
Tipper Gore’s Father, John Kenneth Aitcheson Jr., Was the President of a Plumbing Company & Her Mom Accused Him of ‘Desertion’
Tipper Gore is the daughter of John (Jack) Kenneth Aitcheson, Jr. and Margaret Ann Carlson Aitcheson. Tipper was born Mary Elizabeth Aitcheson and raised in Arlington, Virginia.
Tipper’s dad’s obit says that his sister is Nancy Taylor. John K. Aitcheson Jr. was the President of J & H Aitcheson Plumbing Supply, according to his obituary. A CNN biography on Tipper says she was an only child who “was raised by her mother and grandmother in a home built by her grandfather in 1938.”
Margaret Odom, later called Margaret Aitcheson, Tipper’s mom, and her dad were divorced when Tipper was four. “Her father owned a large and successful plumbing supply business. Tipper saw him every Sunday,” the CNN biography states. You can find Tipper Gore’s family tree here.
A marriage certificate shows that Tipper’s father married for a third time at age 48 in 1971. He was listed on the marriage certificate as divorced. A divorce document from 1952 shows that Margaret C. Aitcheson listed the cause as “desertion” when she divorced Tipper’s dad. They were married 2 years and had only one child together – Tipper.
When Tipper’s dad died he had been married to wife Barbara for 35 years. “Mr. Aitcheson attended grade school in Alexandria; graduated from George Washington High School and then graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Engineering. He was also a veteran of the U.S. Army and served during World War II. Jack was a charter member of Belle Haven Country Club; former member of the Kiwanis Club; and a longtime Alexandria business leader,” the obit says.
Tipper’s mother died in 2001 at age 77. Her obituary in The New York Times says her first husband was a fighter pilot killed during World War II, and Tipper said her mother’s struggles with depression instigated her concern for mental health issues. Margaret was an accountant.
The IMDB profile for Zach Cregger states that “Zach is a first cousin, once removed, of Second Lady of the United States Tipper Gore (born Mary Elizabeth Aitcheson). Zach’s maternal great-grandparents, John Kenneth Aitcheson, Sr. and Virginia Dare Clarke, were also Tipper’s paternal grandparents.”
Bill Taylor Served as the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine From 2006 to 2009
A State Department history defines Taylor as a “Career Foreign Service Officer” who lives in Virginia. The bio says that he served as “Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (Ukraine)” from 2006 through May 23, 2009.
According to Interfax Ukraine, when Taylor’s term ended, then “Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko decorated him with the order of merit of the third degree.”
As chargé d’affaires, his role now is to “lead our team during this period of historic elections and transition,” according to a statement by the U.S. Embassy Kyiv. “Ambassador Taylor brings a wealth of diplomatic experience to our team during this important moment in U.S.-Ukraine relations.”
Taylor has held key posts in the Middle East.
“Most recently, he was the Executive Vice President of the U.S. Institute of Peace,” his Embassy bio says. “During the Arab Spring, he oversaw assistance and support to Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria at the State Department.” He spent time working for the U.S. government in Israel.
“He also served in Jerusalem as the U.S. Government’s representative to the Mideast Quartet, which facilitated the Israeli disengagement from Gaza and parts of the West Bank,” the biography stated. Taylor does have some political experience. He “served on the staff of Senator Bill Bradley,” according to his Embassy bio. He also played important roles during both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “He oversaw reconstruction in Iraq from 2004 to 2005, and served in Kabul as coordinator of international and U.S. assistance to Afghanistan from 2002 to 2003. Ambassador Taylor also coordinated U.S. assistance to the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe,” the bio reads.
“He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and served as an infantry platoon leader and combat company commander in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and Germany,” his bio reads.
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