Trump administration recalls all envoys, nobody yet to replace them

Washington, Jan 21 (IANS) Shortly after Donald Trump was sworn into office as the 45th President of the United States, the new administration fired as many as 80 ambassadors for countries, agencies and issues – with no concrete replacement envoys lined up.

Trump had demanded that every ambassador in countries all over the world, who had been appointed by former President Barack Obama, were told to leave their offices by midday on January 20 and with no grace period, the Belfast Telegraph reported.

His transition team had said on December 23 there would be “no exceptions” for ambassadors requesting to extend their postings past Inauguration day, in contrast with other Presidents, even for ambassadors with young children.

It is common policy, however, that politically appointed ambassadors resign at the start of a new administration. It is less common to have no replacements in line.

The move now threatens leaving many countries without Senate-confirmed envoys for months and cutting off a direct line to the President, and some in countries which have sensitive relations to the US.

This includes Germany, the UK and Canada, as well as other critical allies. Also, countries such as China, India, Japan and Saudi Arabia will also be looking for replacements, said the report.

The process of replacing politically-appointed ambassadors is a lengthy one carried out by Congress.

Few appointments have been made so far. South Carolina governor Nikki Hayley is ambassador to the United Nations, replacing Samantha Power.

Bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman is ambassador to Israel and Iowa Gov Terry Branstad is ambassador to China.

Trump’s first wife, Ivana Trump, has reportedly expressed her interest in becoming ambassador for the Czech Republic. The President of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, expressed his support, saying: “They could not send a better US ambassador to Prague”.