Donald Trump isn’t playing around.
The transition has been marked by the Obama administration undermining the incoming President at every turn.
So Donald Trump made a move that left the media howling in rage.
The Trump transition team issued a memo ordering all political ambassadors to vacate their posts by Inauguration Day.
The New York Times claims this is a “break with precedent”.
The Times reports:
“The mandate — issued “without exceptions,” according to a terse State Department cable sent on Dec. 23, diplomats who saw it said — threatens to leave the United States without Senate-confirmed envoys for months in critical nations like Germany, Canada and Britain. In the past, administrations of both parties have often granted extensions on a case-by-case basis to allow a handful of ambassadors, particularly those with school-age children, to remain in place for weeks or months.
Mr. Trump, by contrast, has taken a hard line against leaving any of President Obama’s political appointees in place as he prepares to take office on Jan. 20 with a mission of dismantling many of his predecessor’s signature foreign and domestic policy achievements. “Political” ambassadors, many of them major donors who are nominated by virtue of close ties with the president, almost always leave at the end of his term; ambassadors who are career diplomats often remain in their posts.
A senior Trump transition official said there was no ill will in the move, describing it as a simple matter of ensuring that Mr. Obama’s overseas appointees leave the government on schedule, just as thousands of political aides at the White House and in federal agencies must do. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about internal deliberations, said the ambassadors should not be surprised about being held to a hard end date.”
Writing on RedState, the blogger streiff notes that by allowing Obama’s appointees to stay on, the Trump administration would be keeping political rivals who could create mischief for the new administration:
“The subtext here is that the incoming administration should put its agenda on hold and provide five months of government funded tourism to political appointees of the previous administration while they undercut the new administration. That’s great work if you can get it, but I find in hard to feel a lot of sympathy for super-rich liberal Democrats who could, if they wished, remain on station out of their own funds and let their kids complete school. Hell, Schapiro could even send his kids to public school and then no “lobbying” would be necessary.”
Nor is the move “unprecedented”.
Breitbart notes the Obama administration issued the same directive in 2008.
They dug up a 2008 Washington Post article applauding the move by the Obama administration.
The Post wrote at the time:
“The incoming Obama administration has notified all politically-appointed ambassadors that they must vacate their posts as of Jan. 20, the day President-elect Barack Obama takes the oath of office, a State Department official said.
The clean slate will open up prime opportunities for the president-elect to reward political supporters with posts in London, Paris, Tokyo and the like. The notice to diplomatic posts was issued this week.
Political ambassadors sometimes are permitted to stay on briefly during a new administration, but the sweeping nature of the directive suggests that Obama has little interest in retaining any of Bush’s ambassadorial appointees.
Most ambassadors, of course, are foreign service officers, but often the posts involving the most important bilateral relations (such as with Great Britain, Japan and India) or desirable locales (such as the Bahamas) are given to close friends and well-heeled contributors of the president.”
Trump is right to want his people in key roles.
And by doing so, he shuts down an avenue for Obama to keep loyal supporters in place to work against the new administration.