The Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA) Kimberly Breier who assumed charge of the bureau on October 15, 2018 has resigned. She was barely 10 months into her tenure (she was with S/P prior to her WHA appointment). The AP reports that she “stepped down earlier this week, although they offered differing reasons for her departure.” Two AP sources say that Breier cited personal reasons for her decision, but that “the two officials suggested it was prompted by differences over a recent migration accord with Guatemala.” A congressional aide told the AP that her departure was “mainly driven by family responsibilities.” The WaPo report includes an item about a clash with White House darling Stephen Miller over Trump’s Guatemala asylum accord.
Secretary Pompeo tweeted that Ms. Breier is “stepping down to spend more time with her family.” [Sorry, gotta LOL here. He really did tweet that]. Ms. Breier also tweeted her “profound thanks” to the president and the secretary of state, and for the “friendship and support” of the president’s daughter and son-in-law.
This resignation follows the departure of EUR’s Assistant Secretary Wess Mitchell who left his post after some 16 months on the job. A/S Mitchell took office in October 2017 and left Foggy Bottom in February 2019 (see EUR’s Wess Mitchell Quits, New Acting EUR A/S Millard Reportedly to Retire 2/22). That position is currently filled by career diplomat Philip T. Reeker who has been appointed Acting Assistant Secretary of European and Eurasian Affairs since March 18, 2019. As far as we are aware, no nominee for EUR has been announced.
The latest departure means that three of the seven geographic bureaus within the State Department will have officials appointed in an acting capacity (SCA, EUR, WHA). Assistant secretaries appointed to EAP and NEA were just confirmed this past June.
So now the next question becomes, who will be the new assistant secretary at WHA? If State follows its normal ladder, career diplomat Julie Chung who assumed position as WHA’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in November 2018 would be the Acting Assistant Secretary until a new nominee is announced and confirmed. But these days, under the chaos strategy intended to confuse friends and enemies alike, we just don’t really know anymore.
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as the Assistant Secretary of Western Hemisphere Affairs. I offer my profound thanks to @POTUS, @SecPompeo, and the administration for the opportunity to serve, and to @IvankaTrump and Jared Kushner for their friendship and support. https://t.co/aO6ZGFS0lY
— Kimberly Breier (@WHAAsstSecty) August 8, 2019
After 2+ years of late nights & constant travel, A/S Kim Breier will be stepping down to spend more time with her family. Kim's expertise, counsel & passion ensured our nation seized opportunities & got results. I’m grateful for her service & wish Kim, Peter, & Emma all the best.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 8, 2019
Kimberly Breier resigns as assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere https://t.co/4iaC6Ydcx2
— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) August 7, 2019
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) August 8, 2019