On the campaign trail, Donald Trump promised to drain the swamp in Washington, DC. He believed, and obviously American voters agreed, that too many career politicians and bureaucrats were keeping the country from moving forward.
In one of the most important federal departments, the Department of State, it has been an open secret that officials have often opposed and even sabotaged the president’s wishes. For example, George W. Bush administration players complained that the State Department was stonewalling White House policy on the war on terror.
This week came word of a major shake up the State Department. Contrary to initial reports of a surprise “mass resignation” after Trump took office, however, it seems that the facts are slightly different:
Patrick Kennedy, who served for nine years as the undersecretary for management, Assistant Secretaries for Administration and Consular Affairs Joyce Anne Barr and Michele Bond, and Ambassador Gentry Smith, director of the Office for Foreign Missions, were sent letters by the White House that their service was no longer required, the sources told CNN.
All four, career officers serving in positions appointed by the President, submitted letters of resignation per tradition at the beginning of a new administration. (…)
“Any implication that 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.”
Department officials went on to explain that these were not “career appointments” but jobs that had built-in term limits. The departures, therefore, were not the shocking events being portrayed in much of the media.
Now that the facts are out, the handwringing continues, with observers warning that this sudden loss of institutional memory and experience will leave the Department without enough competent people.
However, others point out that there are plenty of subordinates who will be capable of stepping up to the plate until permanent replacements are found.
In other words, this “shocking development,” as CNN reported it, really was no such thing.