House Dems: Trump endangers diplomats by not filling State job

House Dems: Trump endangers diplomats by not filling State job
© Greg Nash

Democratic members on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Monday sent a letter to President Trump warning him that he is putting American diplomats at risk by not nominating an assistant secretary of State for diplomatic security.

In the letter, Democrats point out that Trump used questions about security around the 2012 Benghazi attacks in Libya during his campaign to attack his opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, but has still failed to nominate a State security chief.

“Every day, all around the world, American diplomats should go to work confident that the United States government is doing everything possible to keep them safe,” the letter, signed by all 21 Democratic members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, reads.

“However, over 100 days into your Administration, in the office most directly responsible for their safety — that of Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security — there sits an empty desk.  And as long as that office remains empty, you are putting American diplomats at unnecessary risk.”

In the letter, the House Democrats urged the president to nominate someone for the position.

“The women and men in the United States Foreign Service who bravely serve our country — often in dangerous places and at great risk to themselves and their families — deserve to have a Senate-confirmed Assistant Secretary in place ensuring that they are fully protected,” the letter said.

The group said nothing can be taken for granted during a time of “great global instability and turmoil.” They pointed to a law signed in December by former President Barack Obama, that “put into place several new requirements intended to protect our diplomats.”

“Every day that goes by without a Senate-confirmed Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security in place poses an unnecessary risk to our diplomats,” the letter said.

“We urge you to work with Secretary of State Tillerson in making this appointment as soon as possible.”

The State Department defended its large list of unfilled positions last month, saying it would be pointless to fill top jobs before leadership is done deciding how to restructure the agency.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson planned to go on a listening tour of the department before deciding how to move forward, The New York Times reported last month.
A Bloomberg News report in April said Tillerson is poised to cut 2,300 diplomatic and civil servant positions from his agency.
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