On Inauguration Day January 20, every U.S. ambassador politically appointed by President Barack Obama, according to a report published Thursday night by the New York Times. The Trump transition staff has issued a blanket edict requiring politically appointed ambassadors to leave their overseas posts by Inauguration Day, according to several American diplomats familiar with the plan.
There is no grace period as in the past and there are “no exceptions”. Sources told the Times there is no ill will.
It will affect the personal lives and the schooling of the diplomats and they ill appeal for an extension to Rex Tillerson.
It could take months to fill the positions.
The Times doesn’t know the rationale behind the move but truthfully, many won’t be missed. Most of Obama’s ambassadors were bundlers without adequate credentials.
Instead of sending know-nothing bundlers to a remote country, they were sent to China, Norway, Argentina et al. Usually these posts are reserved for professional diplomats who know the country, know the language, understand the culture.
Many of Our Ambassadors Are Know-Nothings
Noah Mamet, an Obama bundler, was nominated as Ambassador to Argentina, a country he has never visited.
The State Department didn’t know if he could speak Spanish. They didn’t have his resume handy when asked about his credentials.
The worst Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing by far was that of George Tsunis.
The Tsunis interview was so bad that he was crushed in the Norwegian media because they noticed he has a “total ignorance of Norway.” Tsunis didn’t even bother learning a thing about Norway prior to the hearings. He didn’t know Norway had a king and he didn’t speak speak Norwegian. He knew nothing about the government.
Tsunis backed out after a slew of embarrassing headlines in Norway’s newspapers.
Max Baucus, who is the ambassador to China.couldn’t answer a simple question. Senator Ron Johnson asked him what prompted the Chinese to initiate the air defense identification zone and this is what he said in response:
Baucus: Senator, I’m no real expert on China, but it’s my strong belief that Chinese people are just as proud as we Americans are proud.
When Caroline Kennedy was appointed Ambassador to Japan, she started off by embarrassing herself and the U.S.
She intervened in the controversy over Japan’s annual dolphin hunts, denouncing them for their “inhumaneness”.
“Deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing,” she wrote on Twitter. “USG [the US Government] opposes drive hunt fisheries.”
The United States does not of course have a policy on drive hunt fisheries.
Lou Sussman, the retired ambassador to the UK, appears to have paid $50,000 to become ambassador. At least it looks that way from the Wikileaks emails.
Sussman was followed by Matthew Barzun who was also a big bundler.
President Obama appointed Colleen Bell as Ambassador to Hungary. She produced the soap opera The Bold and The Beautiful. She has served on the Board of Directors for the LA County Museum of Art and in some other perfunctory Board positions, but her real claim to the position, if being a soap opera producer isn’t enough, is that she raised about $800,000 for Mr. Obama, according to the NY Times.
Senator McCain asked her to describe American strategic interests in Hungary during her hearing to which she said:
“We have our strategic interests, in terms of what are our key priorities in Hungary. I think our key priorities are to improve upon, as I mentioned, the security relationship and also the law enforcement and to promote business opportunities, increase trade … Our strategic interests are to work collaboratively as NATO allies…To work to promote and protect the security, both for both countries and for and for the world, to continue working together on the cause of human rights around the world, to build that side of our relationship while also maintaining and pursuing some difficult conversations that might be necessary in the coming years.”
This is her understanding of our strategic interests in Hungary?
All tolled, Bloomberg reports that Obama ambassadors donated $13.6 million in campaign money.