Blinken was sworn in as the 71st in the U.S. UU. The Secretary of State, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, is the President's chief foreign affairs adviser. Antony Blinken's warm welcome at Foggy Bottom can be put to the test by career officials seeking recognition.
The day before Antony Blinken was officially confirmed as Secretary of State, at least one American. Embassy had already moved on and hung up his portrait. It was probably just a mistake on the part of the building's management officials, a U, S. Diplomat told POLITICO on the condition that the specific embassy should not be named.
But, even if unnoticed, the premature move captured how anxious many in the State Department's 75,000 workforce were waiting for its new leader, after years of feeling marginalized and degraded under the presidency of former President Donald Trump. Whether requesting briefings from junior officials or promising diplomats that I will “support you,” Blinken has already taken steps to signal his trust in the foreign and civil service officers who now report to him. Movements have left a good impression, according to 10 U. Diplomats and other officials, many of whom hope that the turbulence in the workplace under Trump will quickly fade into memory.
It could be a short honeymoon for Blinken. Questions are already circulating about whether it will promote enough career government employees or rely heavily on political appointees from abroad. In addition, Blinken's two immediate predecessors, Mike Pompeo and Rex Tillerson, took office with a lot of goodwill or at least with the cautious hope of the professional ranks, but both were deeply unpopular. Blinken, a longtime Biden confidant, will be instrumental in implementing that policy.
Diplomats count on him to regain morale. The fact that he served as Undersecretary of State during the Obama administration means that many of those diplomats already know him. Even before Blinken was confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday, the Biden administration made moves that pleased many in the State Department. For example, he immediately removed a large banner with a statement of “ethos” developed under Pompeo.
Many State Department employees were insulted by the ethics exercise, believing that it called into question their professionalism. On Wednesday, his first full day as secretary, Blinken delivered remarks at department headquarters in which he promised to support his employees and “seek dissenting views and listen to experts.”. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the number of people present was limited, but organizers made sure to include representatives from the department's “affinity groups”, which support people from diverse backgrounds. One of Pompeo's last public statements, issued via Twitter, was to declare that “multiculturalism “is not what the United States is.
The news that the briefing would return “felt great,” said a State Department staff member, on condition of remaining anonymous due to lack of permission to speak on the subject. The briefing is closely watched by foreign governments, not just journalists, and provides State Department offices with a focal point to help organize their schedules and ideas. In a much appreciated move, junior staff members specifically, desk officers following particular countries have been asked to inform Blinken before he calls his counterparts abroad, three staff members said. The new administration even changed the format of a document used to organize such calls to add a section to list the names of such junior staff members, one of them said.
Rubin, the union's boss, said Blinken and other nominees for high-department jobs have already been in contact with him. On the contrary, according to a senior AFSA official, Pompeo never held a formal meeting with the union president during his tenure. Blinken is scheduled to meet with AFSA leaders on Monday. A representative of Pompeo would not discuss the issue in the registry or in the background.
Blinken brings with it a large number of political appointees, many of whom have already started working in key positions, such as deputy undersecretaries of state. This is standard for any new administration. But current employees are increasingly anxious because they haven't yet seen Blinken name the people in their ranks to the top. A senior State Department official indicated that a career official will be elevated to a prominent position earlier this week.
Other career officials are expected to be nominated or appointed to the highest positions, including as assistant secretaries of state, in the coming weeks. But there are sensitivities around who rises, especially after Trump's years. Career staff members are committed to working for the government, regardless of the party that controls the White House, and to implementing the policies of whoever is in charge. Trump and many of his top aides, however, did not trust the employees of the race, presenting them as a “deep state determined to thwart their agenda.”.
The State Department, fairly or not, was seen as a hotbed for Democrats. Several career employees of the State Department alleged that they were mistreated by Trump's politically motivated appointees. In some cases, independent control bodies agreed. Career diplomats want Blinken to compensate for the turmoil they suffered and promote people in their ranks.
Some note that, after all, they stoically resisted, while some of Blinken's political appointees are former career staff members who resigned to avoid dealing with Trump. Over time, however, many in State became bitter about Pompeo, largely because he often failed to defend his ranks against attacks by Trump or others. Diplomats were upset by Pompeo's refusal to publicly support Marie Yovanovitch, the former American. Ambassador to Ukraine Involved in Trump's First Impeachment Investigation.
Pompeo was also perceived as overly partisan in a role whose previous occupants used to try to stay out of the domestic political fray. Pompeo has defended his mandate, even with a blizzard of tweets in his final days at work, some of which focused on efforts to improve the lives of American diplomats. He said he was proud to work with the men and women of the department, calling them “the best diplomatic corps in the world.”. During their stay in the State, Pompeo and his wife, Susan, were the subject of investigations by the inspector general into their use of government resources.
One such investigation found that Susan Pompeo's trips with her husband were sometimes not properly documented, but left aside the question of whether the trips were an appropriate use of funds. Pompeo has repeatedly said that he and his wife did nothing wrong. The State Department led by Blinken will be asked to weigh another unfinished inspector general report on Pompeos' use of taxpayer-funded resources, said a person familiar with the process. The report may contain recommendations for policy changes that would be up to Blinken to implement.
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