Senior officials are fleeing the State Department in the first days of President Donald Trump’s administration, according to The Washington Post.
Patrick Kennedy, the State Department’s undersecretary for management, and three of his top officials resigned abruptly recently, the Post reported. All are career diplomats who have served under presidents from both parties.
Two other senior leaders in the State Department left earlier this month. Post columnist Josh Rogin characterised it as an “ongoing mass exodus of senior foreign service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era.”
David Wade, who was the State Department’s chief of staff under Secretary of State John Kerry, told the Post that it’s “the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember.”
“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,” Wade said.
Trump, however, built his presidential campaign around an anti-establishment mindset. He had reportedly planned to find a replacement for Kennedy, who initially hoped to stay in his job under Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee for secretary of state.
Still, Rogin notes that “the emptying of leadership in the management bureaus” is “disruptive because those offices need to be led by people who know the department and have experience running its complicated bureaucracies.”
“These retirements are a big loss,” Wade told the Post. “They leave a void. These are very difficult people to replace.”
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