President-elect Donald Trump is breaking with precedent by demanding that politically appointed ambassadors leave their overseas posts by Inauguration Day, a report by the New York Times stated.
In the past, new administrations have granted extensions to ambassadors on a case-by-case basis, especially those who have school-going children, for weeks or months. Trump’s transition staff, however, has reportedly issued an all-encompassing order, according to a State Department cable sent out Dec. 23.
The president-elect has taken a stand to not allow any of President Barack Obama’s political appointees to continue beyond inauguration day, possibly with the aim dismantling many of Obama’s foreign and domestic policy measures. The move, however, could be problematic as it leaves the country without Senate-confirmed envoys for months to follow, the report said.
While the Times cited a senior Trump transition official as saying that there was no “ill will” in the order, many ambassadors are considering approaching Trump’s nominee for secretary of state Rex Tillerson to appeal the decision.
Many diplomats have now been left in the lurch as they attempt to come up with living arrangements in their respective countries and acquire visas that allow them to remain there in order for their children to complete the school year, the publication reported.
“When you have people out there whose only reason for being an ambassador is their political connection to the outgoing president of a different party, it’s pretty logical to say they should leave,” said Ronald E. Neumann, the president of the American Academy of Diplomacy, a Washington-based nonprofit association for former ambassadors and senior diplomats. “But I don’t recollect there was ever a guillotine in January where it was just, ‘Everybody out of the pool immediately.’”
As of now, Trump has named ambassadors to two countries — bankruptcy lawyer and campaign adviser David Friedman will be the U.S. ambassador to Israel, while Iowa Governor Terry Branstad will be serving in China.