All Obama-appointed ambassadors ordered to leave before Inauguration.
WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald J. Trump’s 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, breaking with decades of precedent by declining to provide even the briefest of grace periods.
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.
Two points here: these are not career diplomatics we're talking about, merely billionaires who donated enough cash to the Democratic Party to earn a coveted sinecure in a comfortable, elegant country - nobody's being relieved in Sudan or Somalia. Second, the role of ambassador is not what it was back when communications between the mother country took months, and the man on the spot was in fact in charge of his country's foreign policy. Today it's canapes and chilled champagne, and leave the driving to the underlings, so the absence of a hedgefunder or two is unlikely to have any noticeable effect.
All that aside, does the NYT really think that Canada is a critically important country? Really?
UPDATE: Over at the Daily Kos, the outrage at this cruelty to billionaires exceeds even that of the Times.
Apparently the antipathy of the wingnuts towards the rich is reserved for Republicans only - who'd have ever expected that? By the way, if you need a chuckle, do check the link - these folks are absolutely bleeding at the plight of some very, very wealthy people who may have to find alternative lodging while their children finish the school year (and in private schools, at that). I'm less sympathetic.
UPDATE II: The Kos screed is illustrated with a photo of Denise Bauer, Ambassador to Belgium, with the caption, "Bauer is being forced to return even though her daughter is just months away from graduating from high school". Bauer, wealthy in her own right, was also one of Obama's top-ten bundlers in 20012. The Kos's concern for this unfortunate woman is truly touching.
U.S. Ambassador Denise Bauer with Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo. Bauer is being forced to return to the U.S. even though her daughter is just months from graduating high school.