Donald Trump’s first week in the Oval Office has been a cause for concern, to say the least. Trump’s first few days have led to a massive march on Washington, sparked a controversy in regards to the White House’s use of “alternative facts, and forced several long-time employees of the U.S. Department of State to abandon ship.
On Wednesday, the entire senior level of management officials resigned as several foreign service officers refuse to take part in Trump’s controversial presidency.
According to the Washington Post, it was recently reported that Trump’s team was looking to secure his No. 2 within the department and replace the State Department’s undersecretary for management, Patrick Kennedy, who had been in that position for nine years. However, unbeknownst to the department, Kennedy and three of his top officials, who have worked under both political party administrations, resigned without warning.
The resignation comes on the heels of several other foreign official resignations since Trump’s inauguration.
On January 20, the Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security resigned, followed by the director of the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations who left the same day.
According to reports, with all of the departures, nearly all of the senior officials that manage the State Department, its overseas posts and its people, are gone.
“It’s the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember, and that’s incredibly difficult to replicate,” former State Department chief of staff David Wade said. “Department expertise in security, management, administrative and consular positions in particular are very difficult to replicate and particularly difficult to find in the private sector.”
Apparently, several senior foreign service officials in the State Department’s regional bureaus have also left their assignments or resigned since the election, the publication reports.
“Diplomatic security, consular affairs, there’s just not a corollary that exists outside the department, and you can least afford a learning curve in these areas where issues can quickly become matters of life and death,” Wade said. “The muscle memory is critical. These retirements are a big loss. They leave a void. These are very difficult people to replace.”
Now, according to reports, it will be the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s number one job to find qualified and experienced officials to manage the State Department’s important offices. Although, he has no government experience, he must also reach out to the rest of the State Department workforce to reassure them that everything is under control. Remember, Trump ordered a hiring freeze for much of the federal government.
Updated: 1/26/2017 1:45 PM
According to CNN, two senior administration officials said the Trump administration relieved the senior management officials of their duties, despite reports stating otherwise. Although, it is tradition for career officers to submit letters of resignation at the beginning of a new administration, the White House said they accepted the resignations of the four officials and thanked them for their services.
As previously stated, the four officials had been working for the State Department for years, under both Democratic and Republican administrations.
“Any implication that these four people quit is wrong,” one senior State Department official said. “These people are loyal to the secretary, the President and to the State Department. There is just not any attempt here to dis the President. People are not quitting and running away in disgust. This is the White House cleaning house.”