Bill Taylor, the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine and the top diplomat for the United States there, is married to a religious scholar who studies early Christianity. He is the son of a former NASA manager. Bill Taylor is also a cousin of Tipper Gore, the estranged wife of former Vice President Al Gore. Their parents are siblings, making Bill and Tipper first cousins.
Bill Taylor Jr. is a career foreign service officer and Vietnam War veteran with experience in the Middle East. Specifically, he’s known now as the chargé d’affaires to Ukraine.
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.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Bill Taylor Is Married to Wife Deborah, Who Is a Religious Scholar Especially Interested in the ‘Jewish Nature of Early Christianity’
Bill Taylor is married with two adult children. His wife’s name is Deborah, according to his father’s obit. His mother’s obit gives his wife’s name as Deborah Furlan Taylor.
Deborah Furlan Taylor wrote a journal article for the Catholic Biblical Association called “The Monetary Crisis in Revelation 13:17 and the Provenance of the Book of Revelation.” She also wrote a book called “The Geographical and Adversarial Orientation of the Book of Revelation” that was published by the Catholic University of America.
Deborah Taylor gave an interview in 2007 with her husband to Unian Information Agency. She was asked whether “it is common knowledge that the US Senate supports Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. Should he promote recognition of the independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church more actively?”
Deborah Taylor responded: “I think this is definitely a separate topic. I only arrived in Ukraine in September, and I have to confess that at this point I still don`t know much about Orthodoxy except that there are different groups. So far, I`ve been spending my time settling in the house and settling in the American community.”
She added: “…my own work actually focuses on very early Christianity. Once you get to the 2nd or 3rd century…I don`t know much more than any other educated person. I am primarily interested in the Jewish nature of early Christianity.”
She also told the publication, “I think that there are Christians who may think differently, but I think that with the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. the Jewish people had massive problems continuing their own community and Christianity did not have a major impact.”
According to Deborah Taylor, “My own experience as a Christian in the United States and my scholarly work on the early church don`t incline me to believe that there has ever been a case that Christianity has been a happy and undivided family.”
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.
Deborah and Bill Taylor, Jr. have two children, listed in Congressional records as Christopher O’Neill Taylor and Mary Morgan Taylor.
2. Bill Taylor Is the Son of a Former NASA Manager on the Apollo Program & Church Founder
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. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The church is located in Mount Vernon Alexandria.
The obituary says that William Brockenbrough Taylor Sr. was survived by his wife Nancy Aitcheson Taylor, five children, and 10 grandchildren. His wife Nancy, the mother of Bill Taylor Jr., died in 2015.
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.
3. Bill’s Mother Gave Her Children a ‘Strength of Purpose’ & Her Family Line Is Related to Tipper Gore
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.
Her parents were named Virginia Dare and John Kenneth Aitcheson, and she was born in Alexandria, Virginia. She was described as working “in the art department of the Hecht Co. and as an art teacher in Alexandria public schools” and illustrating books of poetry written by “Roberta Newton Taylor, her mother-in-law.”
“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 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, 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. It’s not clear how well-acquainted Bill Taylor Jr. and Tipper Gore are, however, despite the family tie.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Taylor “has served under every presidential administration, Republican and Democrat, since 1985, and also worked for then-Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J.” He was recently “an executive vice president at the nonpartisan U.S. Institute of Peace,” the newspaper reports.
4. The Actor Zach Cregger Is Taylor’s Nephew
The actor Zach Cregger is Taylor’s nephew.
According to Zach’s IMDB profile, Zach Cregger “was born on March 1, 1981 in Arlington, Virginia, USA as Zachary Michael Cregger. He is an actor and writer, known for Miss March (2009), The Whitest Kids U’Know (2007) and The Civil War on Drugs (2011).”
The IMDB profile mentions the Tipper connection. It 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.”
5. 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.”
“I look forward to leading the U.S. Embassy team in building strong working relationships with President Zelenskyy and his team, other Ukrainian officials and political forces, and in maintaining our strong partnerships with civil society organizations and the Ukrainian people,” Ambassador Taylor said, according to the Embassy’s statement. “The United States remains deeply committed to the success of a stable, prosperous, democratic and free Ukraine, and we continue to stand in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
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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