China / World

Envoys appointed by Obama asked to quit

By Agencies in Washington (China Daily) Updated: 2017-01-07 06:59

Diplomats say order has thrown their personal lives into tailspin

US president-elect Donald Trump's transition team has issued a blanket mandate requiring politically appointed ambassadors installed by President Barack Obama to leave their posts by Inauguration Day, the US ambassador to New Zealand said on Friday.

"I will be departing on Jan 20," Ambassador Mark Gilbert said in a Twitter message to Reuters.

The mandate was issued "without exceptions" through an order sent in a State Department cable on Dec 23, Gilbert said.

He was confirming a report in The New York Times, which quoted diplomatic sources as saying previous US administrations, from both major political parties, have traditionally granted extensions to allow a few ambassadors, particularly those with school-age children, to remain in place for weeks or months.

Officials from the State Department and Trump's transition team were not available for comment.

The order threatens to leave the United States without Senate-confirmed envoys for months in critical nations like Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom, The New York Times reported.

A senior Trump transition official said there was no ill will in the move, describing it as a simple matter of ensuring Obama's overseas envoys leave the government on schedule, just as thousands of political aides at the White House and in federal agencies must do.

Trump's strict stance

Trump has taken a strict stance against leaving any of Obama's political appointees in place as he prepares to take office on Jan 20, aiming to break up many of his predecessor's signature foreign and domestic policy achievements, the newspaper said.

Diplomats told The New York Times the order has thrown their personal lives into a tailspin, leaving them scrambling to secure living arrangements and acquire visas allowing them to stay in their countries so their children can remain in school.

Meanwhile, US Vice-President Joe Biden told Trump on Thursday to "grow up".

Biden dismissed Trump's complaint on Twitter about how the Obama administration has handled the transition. Biden told PBS NewsHour in an interview that it's time for Trump "to be an adult".

He said to Trump: "You're president. You've got to do something. Show us what you have."

The vice-president also said that Trump as president will have to propose legislation that Congress and the public can then assess. He said that it'll be "much clearer what he's for and against" once he's in the position of governing.

Biden said it's "dangerous" for Trump to publicly criticize the US intelligence community.

Biden also said it's "absolutely mindless" for a president not to have confidence in or listen to the intelligence agencies. He said it would be legitimate to question intelligence and ask for more detail or disagree. But he said that's different from Trump claiming he knows more than the intelligence agencies.


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