The entire senior level of management officials at the US State Department has resigned – rather than serve under President Donald Trump.
In the latest display of disquiet among civil servants in Washington over the arrival of the new commander-in-chief, the four top senior officials at the equivalent of America's foreign ministry, announced that they were standing down.
Mr Trump's selection for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, was present at the department’s offices in the Foggy Bottom neighbourhood of Washington DC, when the officials quit on Wednesday, The Washington Post reported.
The officials were Patrick Kennedy, Under Secretary of State for Management, Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond and Ambassador Gentry Smith, director of the Office of Foreign Missions. All four of the officials served under both Democratic and Republican administrations.
The State Department officials join a growing number of civil servants who have left since Mr Trump took office last week.
Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Gregory Starr and director of the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations Lydia Muniz left last Friday.
The Associated Press said that while none of the officials has linked his or her departure explicitly to Mr Trump's arrival in the White House, many diplomats have privately expressed concern about serving in his administration, given the unorthodox positions he has taken on many foreign-policy issues.
Mr Trump has yet to fill many top diplomatic jobs, including the deputy secretary roles. Mr Tillerson, is expected to be confirmed by the Senate next week.
Mr Kennedy was appointed to the Under Secretary post in 2007 by President George W Bush. Mr Kennedy stayed on throughout President Barack Obama's two terms. His position oversees the department's budget and finances, security, global facilities and consular services, the AP said.
Mr Kennedy, a diplomat since 1973, was criticised for the department's insufficient security at the diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans were killed in 2012.
The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued
The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued
1/9 Trump and the media
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer takes questions during the daily press briefing
2/9 Trump and the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Union leaders applaud US President Donald Trump for signing an executive order withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington DC. Mr Trump issued a presidential memorandum in January announcing that the US would withdraw from the trade deal
3/9 Trump and the Mexico wall
A US Border Patrol vehicle sits waiting for illegal immigrants at a fence opening near the US-Mexico border near McAllen, Texas. The number of incoming immigrants has surged ahead of the upcoming Presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, who has pledged to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. A signature campaign promise, Mr Trump outlined his intention to build a border wall on the US-Mexico border days after taking office
4/9 Trump and abortion
US President Donald Trump signs an executive order as Chief of Staff Reince Priebus looks on in the Oval Office of the White House. Mr Trump reinstated a ban on American financial aide being granted to non-governmental organizations that provide abortion counseling, provide abortion referrals, or advocate for abortion access outside of the United States
5/9 Trump and the Dakota Access pipeline
Opponents of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines hold a rally as they protest US President Donald Trump's executive orders advancing their construction, at Columbus Circle in New York. US President Donald Trump signed executive orders reviving the construction of two controversial oil pipelines, but said the projects would be subject to renegotiation
6/9 Trump and 'Obamacare'
Nancy Pelosi who is the minority leader of the House of Representatives speaks beside House Democrats at an event to protect the Affordable Care Act in Los Angeles, California. US President Donald Trump's effort to make good on his campaign promise to repeal and replace the healthcare law failed when Republicans failed to get enough votes. Mr Trump has promised to revisit the matter
7/9 Donald Trump and 'sanctuary cities'
US President Donald Trump signed an executive order in January threatening to pull funding for so-called "sanctuary cities" if they do not comply with federal immigration law
8/9 Trump and the travel ban
US President Donald Trump has attempted twice to restrict travel into the United States from several predominantly Muslim countries. The first attempt, in February, was met with swift opposition from protesters who flocked to airports around the country. That travel ban was later blocked by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The second ban was blocked by a federal judge a day before it was scheduled to be implemented in mid-March
SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP/Getty Images
9/9 Trump and climate change
US President Donald Trump sought to dismantle several of his predecessor's actions on climate change in March. His order instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to reevaluate the Clean Power Plan, which would cap power plant emissions
In heated congressional hearings, he defended then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's handling of the situation and insisted there was no “stand down” order to the US military during the attack.
Records also showed that Mr Kennedy asked for the FBI's help in 2015 to change the classification level of an email from Ms Clinton's private server. The FBI ultimately rejected the request.
Mr Trump has sparked controversy since he has taken over the White House, signing executive orders to build a wall along the Mexican border – a move that led Mexico's president to cancel a visit to DC – pass a temporary ban on visas for people from seven overwhelmingly Muslim countries, and pulled the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership global trade deal.
The US State Department said on Thursday that the outgoing administration in co-ordination with the incoming one had requested "all politically appointed officers submit letters of resignation" as is standard practice.
"Of the officers whose resignations were accepted, some will continue in the Foreign Service in other positions and others will retire by choice or because they have exceeded the time limits of their grade in service," a statement by acting State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, said.Reuse content