Trump Won't Let Ambassadors Who Were Political Appointees Stay Past Jan. 20

John Minchillo
January 6, 2017,

Donald Trump's transition team will not let any ambassadors who were political appointees stay on their posts abroad past Inauguration Day, breaking from the tradition of giving some diplomats a grace period before a new ambassador is appointed, the New York Times reported Thursday, citing several unnamed diplomats.

Politico confirmed that the Trump team issued the mandate ordering all political appointees to leave their diplomatic posts on Inauguration Day, citing an unnamed State Department official.

New presidents typically grant extensions to some ambassadors to stay on for weeks or months, especially to allow those with school-aged children to stay in the same place for the duration of the school year. However, the Trump team will not grant any exceptions to political appointees, according to the New York Times. The move could leave certain major appointments without an ambassador while the new nominees wait for confirmation, and the decision has left some ambassadors scrambling to find new accommodations abroad or quickly move back to the U.S., according to the Times.

A Trump transition official told the New York Times that the move was not due to ill will but is meant to ensure that all political appointees leave their posts on time.

About 30 percent of ambassadors appointed by President Obama have been political appointees, according to Politico. Often presidents appoint major campaign donors to ambassadorships, and all ambassadors require confirmation in the Senate.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.