Secretary Pompeo Issues a Statement on SOTU #ButWhosFirst?

Big mystery.

On February 5, 2019 10:32 pm, the State Department’s Press Office released  an official statement from the 70th Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “On President Trump’s State of the Union Address”:

In his first two years, President Trump has strengthened America at home and abroad by putting the interests of the American people first and reasserting American leadership around the world. History will remember this period not only for what America has achieved on its own, but for the partnerships we have built with strong, sovereign, and independent nations and the contributions we have inspired from our partners. From making historic progress with North Korea, to confronting the regime in Iran, to supporting the Venezuelan people against tyranny, and more, President Trump’s diplomatic agenda has made America safer, more respected, and more prosperous.

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“History will remember this period …for the partnerships…” kind of does not really work when … what’s that? Recent bureau departures are attributed  to fears  that Trump will pull us out of NATO? Pardon me? Top ranking folks really did not want to be associated with that? But … but.. he said history …. okay, never mind.

Anyway, we had a hard time recalling any secretary of state releasing an official statement on the SOTU. Except it turned out, T-Rex also did a statement when Trump delivered his first SOTU on February 28, 2017.  On March 1, Tillerson released a 100-word statement.

Trump delivered his second SOTU on January 30, 2018. Then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did not appear to release any statement prior to the SOTU but delivered a Remarks at the High-Level Opening Session of the Inaugural U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue on the same day.

By the way, former Secretary of State John Kerry did not issue statements on President Obama’s SOTUs. We’ve looked.

So we should note that while Pompeo maybe one of the firsts to be out with the statement, he got some company (see DHS Secretary Nielsen’s statement, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s statement , Labor Secretary Acosta’s statement, Agriculture Secretary Perdue’s statement, and who knows who else?  Cabinet secretaries and public affairs people burning their late night oil to come up with these statements on the night of February 5.

But you know, folks really need to get these statement night-stamped, otherwise, how will Trump know which statement went out first or last?

It’s probably worth mentioning that Energy Secretary Perry released his state of the union statement on February 6!  February 6. He was the “designated survivor” and he is a day late with his statement?! That’s unforgivable. Yeah, so no cookies for him or his his PA people.

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Hostage Crisis – Day 32: Federal Hostages Are Still Hostages #EndThisMitch

Operation Chaos: $4.2Billion and counting, this is the ongoing #TrumpShutdown cost to U.S. taxpayers

Posted: 12:13 am EST

Via shutdowncalculator.com

Note: We will keep this counter on the blog’s side bar until the federal government reopens. Thanks XX!  For those who do not like the name of this shutdown, please watch this “I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it” video before sending us a love letter.

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Trump Shutdown Day #22: Longest Ever, Also Can “Better Off” Federal Hostages Eat Vacation Days?

 

Marking the 22nd day of the Trump Shutdown. This is now officially the longest government shutdown in history.

Also here is a White House official who need not worry about a paycheck, calling the current chaos and debacle on government workers’ lives as somehow putting them in a “better off” universe.

Trump Shutdown Day #21: Across America, Federal Hostages Are Hurting

Posted: 1:06 am EST

Today marks the 21st day of the Trump Shutdown, making it exactly as long as the 1995 Gingrich Shutdown, a 21-day shutdown which was apparently caused  by this pettiness: “Gingrich confessed he’d forced the closing of the federal government partly because Bill Clinton had relegated him to a rear cabin aboard Air Force One on the way home from Yitzhak Rabin’s funeral in Jerusalem.”

Then as now, the federal government furloughed 800,000 workers.

By Saturday, this sh*tshow, which somebody publicly said he is proud to own, will be the longest shutdown in history. Congress can do its duty as an equal branch of our government and pass a bill over the president’s objections and re-open the government. This requires a two-thirds vote in the House and in the Senate. A two-thirds supermajority in the Senate is 67 out of 100 senators, and  two-thirds supermajority in the House is 290 out of 435 representatives. The 116th Congress is now a 47 Democrat, 53 GOP split  in the Senate, while the House is 235 Democrat, 199 GOP. See the challenge there? But there is apparently already a bill to reopen the government, why won’t they call it on the floor for a vote? Is the leadership afraid that it will pass both houses, and the president would look worse when he vetoes it?

James Fallows writes: “On December 18, Mitch McConnell’s GOP-run Senate passed, on a unanimous voice vote, a “clean” funding measure, to keep the government open and postpone funding fights about “the wall.” They did so with guidance from the White House that Donald Trump would go along. Then the right-wing mocking began; then immediate funding for the wall became an “emergency”; then Trump preferred a shutdown to appearing to “lose.” Mitch McConnell’s GOP of course switched right along with him—and against the measure all of its members had supported just days ago. One man’s insecurity, and his party’s compliance, are disrupting millions of lives.”

Well, maybe some of these folks really believed that a 30-foot wall works over a 35-foot ladder or 30-feet tunnel or maybe all their spinal bones are just made of jello. The larger public may soon start to realize that these elected representatives do not much care for 800,000 of their fellow Americans and their families. Or care much for their fellow citizens and their families who rely on the people and services that make our government work. We’ve taken for granted that the checks and balances in our system works … but take a look.

As this shutdown continues, we are struck at the high tolerance for people and their families to be put in great hardship, all for a fucking wall that Mexico was supposed to pay.

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Snapshot: Appropriations Funding Gaps, FY1977-FY2014

Posted: 10:15 pm PST

Via CRS:

The federal government shutdown is now on its third week, and at the 18th day, it is now the second longest since 1977. In three days, it will be as long as the Gingrich Shutdown in 1995 which lasted for 21 days. If the government is not reopened by this Friday, the Trump Shutdown will become the longest shutdown in over 40 years.  Quick call Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (touting his clout in DC) or tweet to @senatemajldr felicitations and congratulations for his exceptional non-adherence to the Framers’ system of checks and balances at this bonkers moment in history.

Military Personnel Deploys to Gabon in Support of US Embassy Kinshasa Security #DRC

On December 14, 2018, the State Department issued a Level 3 Travel Advisory for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) urging American travelers to reconsider travel there due to “crime and civil unrest.” The advisory also announced that the Embassy’s non-emergency personnel and their family members were on mandatory evacuation order. See US Embassy Kinshasa on Ordered Departure For Non-Emergency Staff/Family Members #DRC

On January 4, the president notified Congress of the deployment of approximately 80 Armed Forces personnel to Gabon in support of the security of the US Embassy in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Excerpt below:

United States Armed Forces personnel have deployed to Libreville, Gabon, to be in position to support the security of United States citizens, personnel, and diplomatic facilities in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.  This deployment of approximately 80 personnel is in response to the possibility that violent demonstrations may occur in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in reaction to the December 30, 2018, elections there.  The first of these personnel arrived in Gabon on January 2, 2019, with appropriate combat equipment and supported by military aircraft.  Additional forces may deploy to Gabon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or the Republic of the Congo, if necessary for these purposes.  These deployed personnel will remain in the region until the security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo becomes such that their presence is no longer needed.

This action was taken consistent with my responsibility to protect United States citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of United States national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct United States foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.

WH: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/letter-president-speaker-house-representatives-president-pro-tempore-senate-2/

115th Congress Final Day: Some Senate Confirmations

On January 2, the final day of the 15th Congress, the U.S. Senate did one mass confirmation of State Department, USAID and UN nominees. We’re going by the names tweeted by the Senate Cloakroom on Jan. 2 as there does not yet appear to be a list of the confirmed nominees. We previously posted the names pending on the Executive Calendar waiting for full Senate votes, see our post: Yo Wanna Spank Schumer But Not @Senatemajldr McConnell For Non-Confirmation of Ambassadors? Very Unfair!

All career ambassador nominees, with four exceptions, were confirmed. For political ambassador nominations, only two out of seven were confirmed (Australia and Kenya made it through). Two USAID and one UNFAO nominees also did not get their full Senate votes.

Based on that Executive Calendar list, we note that the following names were not/not included in the mass confirmation tweeted by @SenateCloakroom. Sometime tomorrow or the next day, we expect that these names, as well as those pending on the SFRC will be returned to the White House per Senate Rule. Most of the nominations that did not get a Senate vote today, and those pending in committee will most probably be renominated by the President within the next few days. We will have a separate posts if/when these nominees are renominated.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Stephen Akard, of Indiana, to be Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, with the rank of Ambassador, vice Gentry O. Smith, resigned.

AMBASSADORS (CAREER)
Robert K. Scott, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Malawi.

Francisco Luis Palmieri, of Connecticut, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Honduras

Daniel N. Rosenblum, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Executive Service, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Uzbekistan

Joseph E. Macmanus, of New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Colombia.

AMBASSADORS (POLITICAL)
Jeffrey Ross Gunter, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Iceland.

Lynda Blanchard, of Alabama, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Slovenia

Donald R. Tapia, of Arizona, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Jamaica.

Joseph Cella, of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Fiji, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Nauru, the Kingdom of Tonga, and Tuvalu.

Kenneth S. George, of Texas, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.

Continue reading

@StateDept Nominations: Pending in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as of December 31, 2018

The following are the State Department nominees pending in the SFRC as of December 31, 2018. At least three nominations (Fischer, Rizzuto, and Manchester) have been renominations submitted in January 2018. NYT’s piece, Special Envoys Were Once Disdained Under Trump. Now They’re Popping Up All Over, includes a few details about two of these three nominees. Also read, Ted Cruz signals fight over Trump diplomat pick who spread ‘tinfoil hat’ conspiracy theories about him.

2018-11-26 PN2673 Foreign Service | Nomination for Cynthia K. Duerr, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on November 26, 2018.

2018-11-26 PN2672 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning James J. Higgiston, and ending Bobby G. Richey, Jr., which 2 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on November 26, 2018.

2018-11-15 PN2650 Department of State | Matthew H. Tueller, of Utah, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Iraq.

2018-11-15 PN2649 Peace Corps | Alan R. Swendiman, of North Carolina, to be Deputy Director of the Peace Corps.

2018-11-15 PN2648 Department of State | Lana J. Marks, of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of South Africa.

2018-11-15 PN2647 Department of State | Brett P. Giroir, of Texas, to be Representative of the United States on the Executive Board of the World Health Organization.

2018-11-15 PN2646 Department of State | James S. Gilmore, of Virginia, to be U.S. Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, with the rank of Ambassador.

2018-11-15 PN2644 Department of State | Kate Marie Byrnes, of Florida, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Macedonia.

2018-11-15 PN2643 Department of State | John P. Abizaid, of Nevada, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

2018-11-13 PN2622-2 Foreign Service | Nomination for Jay P. Williams, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on November 13, 2018.

2018-11-13 PN2580 Department of State | David Stilwell, of Hawaii, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (East Asian and Pacific Affairs).

2018-11-13 PN2579 Department of State | Mary Catherine Phee, of Illinois, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the State of Qatar.

2018-11-13 PN2578 Department of State | Kenneth A. Howery, of Texas, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Sweden.

2018-11-13 PN2577 Department of State | Edward F. Crawford, of Ohio, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Ireland.

2018-10-05 PN2557 Department of State | Ronald Douglas Johnson, of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of El Salvador.

2018-09-28 PN2546 Department of State | Jeffrey L. Eberhardt, of Wisconsin, a Career Member of the Senior Executive Service, to be Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation, with the rank of Ambassador.

2018-09-28 PN2545 United Nations | Andrew P. Bremberg, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, with the rank of Ambassador.

2018-09-28 PN2544 Trade and Development Agency | Darrell E. Issa, of California, to be Director of the Trade and Development Agency.

2018-09-24 PN2532 United Nations | Elizabeth Erin Walsh, of the District of Columbia, to be a Representative of the United States of America to the Seventy-third Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

2018-09-24 PN2530 United Nations | Margarita Palau-Hernandez, of California, to be a Representative of the United States of America to the Seventy-third Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

2018-09-24 PN2528 United States Agency for International Development | Mina Chang, of Texas, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

2018-09-24 PN2527 Department of State | Pamela Bates, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, with the rank of Ambassador.

2018-09-12 PN2513 Department of State |Austin M. Smith, of South Carolina, to be an Alternate Representative of the United States of America to the Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations during his tenure of service as Alternate Representative of the United States of America for Special Political Affairs in the United Nations.

2018-09-12 PN2512 Department of State | Austin M. Smith, of South Carolina, to be Alternate Representative of the United States of America for Special Political Affairs in the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador.

2018-08-28 PN2470 International Joint Commission, United States and Canada | Lance V. Yohe, of North Dakota, to be Commissioner on the part of the United States on the International Joint Commission, United States and Canada.

2018-08-28 PN2469 International Joint Commission, United States and Canada | Robert C. Sisson, of Michigan, to be Commissioner on the part of the United States on the International Joint Commission, United States and Canada.

2018-08-28 PN2468 International Joint Commission, United States and Canada | Jane L. Corwin, of New York, to be Commissioner on the part of the United States on the International Joint Commission, United States and Canada.

2018-08-27 PN2444 Department of State | Marshall Billingslea, of Virginia, to be an Under Secretary of State (Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights).

2018-08-21 PN2430 Department of State | Michael J. Fitzpatrick, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Ecuador.

2018-08-16 PN2394 Department of State | W. Patrick Murphy, of Vermont, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Cambodia.

2018-07-31 PN2351 Department of State | Adrian Zuckerman, of New Jersey, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Romania.

2018-07-09 PN2233 Department of State | Kathleen Ann Kavalec, of California, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Albania.

2018-07-09 PN2232 Department of State | R. Clarke Cooper, of Florida, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Political-Military Affairs).

2018-06-25 PN2207 Department of State | Robert A. Destro, of Virginia, to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

2018-06-18 PN2139 Department of State | Brian J. Bulatao, of Texas, to be an Under Secretary of State (Management).

2018-06-11 PN2131-2 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Jeffries Blunt de Graffenried, Jr., and ending Omar Robles, which 2 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on June 11, 2018.

2018-06-04 PN2052 Broadcasting Board of Governors | Michael Pack, of Maryland, to be Chief Executive Officer of the Broadcasting Board of Governors for the term of three years.

2018-05-24 PN2032 Department of State | Christine J. Toretti, of Pennsylvania, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Malta.

2018-05-24 PN2029 Department of State | Ronald Mortensen, of Utah, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Population, Refugees, and Migration).

2018-05-21 PN2021 Department of State | John Rakolta, Jr., of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the United Arab Emirates.

2018-04-09 PN1801-2 Foreign Service | Nomination for Dao Le, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

2018-04-09 PN1769 Department of State |David Schenker, of New Jersey, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Near Eastern Affairs).

2018-03-12 PN1744-4 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Keisha L. Effiom, and ending Robin Sharma, which 2 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on March 12, 2018.

2018-01-08 PN1384 Department of State | Doug Manchester, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

2018-01-08 PN1379 Department of State | Leandro Rizzuto, of New Jersey, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Barbados, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

2017-12-01 PN1290 Department of State | David T. Fischer, of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Morocco.

Trump Shutdown Officially On Over Border Wall Funding

It looks like Washington, D.C. is one real hotspot with ever brimming chaos these days. Folks who write those Real Post Reports should do one for the United States of America.