Donald Trump’s administration has an extremely high turnover rate. Some of them, such as Steve Bannon, were allegedly forced out, but many others have simply resigned rather than work for Trump. Now, there’s been a new batch of departures. Foreign Policy has reported that on Friday there was a wave of mass-resignation of top State Department officials.
One official who opted for early retirement said that many were dissatisfied with the way the current administration was running the State Department. It wasn’t a matter of official policy, since many of those people have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations. Rather, the reports indicate that they are growing frustrated with the many budget cuts the department has had to endure.
Tracey Ann Jacobson, who served as Bureau for International Organization Affairs, William Rivington Brownfield, U.S. Assistance Secretary of State of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, and one of the country’s top European officials, John Heffern, have all left the State Department within recent weeks.
Foreign Policy‘s Colum Lynch writes that many of these individuals were pushed out or resigned due to dissatisfaction with the way the department is being managed. However, the author notes that many of those who left voluntarily said that they would have remained on if things had been handled differently.
“Foreign policy professionals”, Lynch wrote, “are either being pushed out or resigning over frustration with an administration that has downgraded the importance of Washington’s diplomatic corp.” “Former and current officials said Jacobson and Brownfield, who at 65 has reached retirement age but is not required to step down, have left of their own volition. But on former U.S. official said that Jacobson in particular “would not have left if the situation was different.'”
These departures come at a bad time for the United States. Neither Trump nor his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, have any experience in international diplomacy or politics. This is a time when the expertise of top officials is needed the most. However, it appears that many of them feel as if the Trump administration does not appreciate or understand the work of diplomacy.
This news is rather ironic, considering that Trump built his reputation on being a deal maker and negotiator. However, it appears that whatever experience he might have had negotiating business deals is not applicable in the realm of politics. He frequently boasted that he would get Congress together to work out a great deal on health care or renegotiate major trade deals. However, it is starting to appear that Trump can’t even manage to convince his staff to stay on the job.
Beyond a general dissatisfaction with the way the State Department is being handled, we don’t really know why these people chose to resign, but it might very well be over money. Lynch points out that Trump has called for a 37 percent cut to the State Department’s budget. Such cuts send a message to the State Department that their work is not valued and when someone thinks their work isn’t valued, they lose any incentive to stay on the job.
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