— Jimmy Kimmel Live (@JimmyKimmelLive) September 14, 2018
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) September 16, 2018
— POLITICO (@politico) September 14, 2018
— Nicholas Wadhams (@nwadhams) September 13, 2018
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 10, 2018
AND NOW THIS FROM A SMART TERRIER —
So to recap the day, Trump tweets "17 years since September 11!".
Pompeo's State Department is now calling itself the "Department Of Swagger"
And Trump warns hurricane Florence will be "Very big and very wet"
This is possibly the worst reality show ever pic.twitter.com/0BJA1jaWS3
— Rex the TV terrier (@rexthetvterrier) September 11, 2018
Few things in the world are certain, but make no mistake, Secretary Mike Pompeo does not have swagger. Neither does the State Department.
In simple, definitional terms, “swagger” is described as confidence bordering on arrogance and self-importance. While confidence is a key to diplomatic work, the latter two qualities are anathema to it. Despite the poor associations, Secretary Pompeo is desperately trying to make #swagger happen.
"In simple, definitional terms, “swagger” is described as confidence bordering on arrogance and self-importance. While confidence is a key to diplomatic work, the latter two qualities are anathema to it," writes Sr. Policy Director @atomicbellhttps://t.co/ZjmVTqcmZy
— Nukes of Hazard (@nukes_of_hazard) September 13, 2018
— Erica Fein (@enfein) September 12, 2018
“The very nature of diplomacy makes it relatively uncool. There’s a reason that James Dean didn’t star in ‘Rebel with a Sensible Plan for Improved Water Sanitation in the Lower Mekong Delta.’”https://t.co/aygHBfwZ9i
— Nahal Toosi (@nahaltoosi) September 12, 2018
because when I think of the great diplomats of history I think of the word “swagger” https://t.co/MVxisMqWdU
— Eric Rauchway (@rauchway) September 11, 2018
Condi Rice had "transformational diplomacy." Hillary had "economic statecraft" and "smart power." Pompeo has "swagger." https://t.co/aXcQbeJYNk
— Mintaro Oba (@MintaroOba) September 10, 2018
Hey, here’s some swagger from 90s WWE. You’re welcome!
The swagger of this man is unmatched. pic.twitter.com/LAa3gsb1Lt
— 90s WWE (@90sWWE) September 11, 2018
Excuse me, is this the same department responsible for an updated September 7 guidance regarding the correct use of commas in paper for the Secretary and other agency principals? An update to guidance on the same topic (comma inclusion and omission) issued in June? Who knows? The folks who did the comma guidance … are they the same ones who did the updated department seal? Are there plans for updating all embassy and consulate seals with Embassy of Swagger? How about business cards? Should we roll out new t-shirts and uh, swags?
— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) September 11, 2018
Shakespeare was the first to use "swagger." Gen. Patton had his swagger stick. At @statedept, we've got #swagger too. Follow me on Instagram at https://t.co/LNY8d8NgK8 for pics and videos with some @Statedept #swagger. pic.twitter.com/mpSZKfdHst
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 10, 2018
We really do think they should tone down on that swaggering bit but um … not a trick question, the swagger guy vs. the cold guy?
This bit on Rex Tillerson from Bob Woodward’s book is 😳 pic.twitter.com/psDZHdFqtW
— Nahal Toosi (@nahaltoosi) September 9, 2018
The State Department’s Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) for immigrant visas has been down since at least July 20th. We can confirm that the service affected is specific to immigrant visa applicants and does not affect nonimmigrant visa applications. We understand from a source that the National Visa Center (NVC) that is using the website to allow applicants to send their paperwork to the consulates doesn’t have any information about the reasons or the possible timeframe on when it will be back on. We were told although we’re unable to confirm that “appointments have been canceled this time as well and it affected every consulate in the world that is using the new “faster” digital processing system.”
On July 26, we requested clarification from the Consular Affairs bureau if this is a scheduled maintenance and if they have a time frame when this will be completed. The following is a comment we received from a State Department official on background in response to our inquiry:
The Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) Immigrant Visa web portal is currently unavailable due to maintenance. During this time, IV applicants will be unable to access/login to the CEAC Immigrant Visa Agent (DS-261), Online Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260), or the Immigrant Visa Fee Payment portal. The CEAC Immigrant Visa application Status Check and Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160) are not impacted by this maintenance. For urgent cases that are already at an overseas post, applicants may be asked to complete a paper-based immigrant visa application (DS-230), which will be provided by the local consulate or embassy. We regret the inconvenience to travelers and recognize the hardship for those waiting for visas, and in some cases, their family members or employers in the United States, during this maintenance period.
A quick scan of a few u.s. embassies’ visa webpages indicate no announcement of the system’s unavailability, however, travelstate.gov does have a highlighted announcement at the top of its page that says:
Immigrant visa forms and fee payments are currently unavailable in the Consular Electronic Application Center. We apologize for the inconvenience. We’re working to resolve this and hope to have the system fully functional as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.
Apparently, some attorneys who made inquiries were told that a planned weekend update to the system resulted in an unexpected “catastrophic failure.” On July 27, travel.state.gov tweeted the following but we’re nowhere near in learning if this was a regularly scheduled update that gone bad, if there are other technical issues, or what is the time frame for bringing this system back online.
Immigrant visa forms and fee payments are currently unavailable in the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). We apologize for the inconvenience. We’re working to resolve this and hope to have the system fully functional as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience. pic.twitter.com/Hi0pC7iSEi
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) July 27, 2018
@CoryBooker and anyone else who can help are you aware the CEAC website has been down for over 8 days with no end in sight, no alternative way to process and no ability to speak to anyone? #desperateadoptivemama pic.twitter.com/NHwsWFIqYb
— Bethany Brown (@bethanylbrown62) July 30, 2018
CEAC portal currently. Systems been down a week. Can we please get some information on when this service is due to return?
This is halting many VISA applications and many online are concerned that this update means a longer wait time.@TravelGov@StateDept@national_visa@USCIS pic.twitter.com/IvQ8NL16Ks
— Carwen Haf Davies-Thompson (@CarwenoB_show) July 27, 2018
Prepare to be surprised, Donny… https://t.co/y7wq2MdbZk
— Larry the Cat (@Number10cat) July 12, 2018
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) July 13, 2018
— NBC News (@NBCNews) July 13, 2018
Welcome to England, Donald.
— Stefan Simanowitz (@StefSimanowitz) July 12, 2018
— Peter Brookes (@BrookesTimes) July 14, 2018
— cassandracarolina (@cassandra17lina) July 13, 2018
photo from London today pic.twitter.com/8n2RyBtWZd
— Edel Rodriguez (@edelstudio) July 14, 2018
Naked baby Donald Trump, we love you – cartoon https://t.co/odM1MrOFx9
— The Guardian (@guardian) July 14, 2018
— The London Economic (@LondonEconomic) July 13, 2018
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) July 13, 2018
AND THEN THIS —
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) July 13, 2018
Posted: 3:21 am ET
State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert assumed her position on April 25, 2017 (see Heather Nauert: From Fox News Channel to State Department Spokesperson). On the same day that Secretary Tillerson and Under Secretary Goldstein (see Steve Goldstein Assumes Charge as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs) were both fired, the White House also publicly designated Heather Nauert as Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (R). Her official bio notes that “She will continue to serve as State Department Spokesperson.”
Ms. Nauert may not get any sleep for the next six months (must see story of the day also has a State/GEC connection). Or if as the White House told a reporter, “Heather is the only one at State we trust” what’s the likelihood that this acting position becomes a permanent appointment subject to Senate confirmation, of course?
She just skipped over her new boss at Public Affairs, and she will be dual-hatted as “R” and as spokesperson until a new nominee is confirmed. How long is that going to take? Goldstein was announced as “R” nominee in September 2017 but did not get through the confirmation process and assume office until December 2017. We have seen PA dual hatted as spox, but we don’t think we’ve ever had an R dual hatted as spox (Margaret D. Tutwiler did serve as R and Public Affairs but not concurrently, though she was dual hatted as PA/spox).
If the online details of the R bureau are current, of the fourteen senior positions currently under Ms. Nauert, five are currently vacant, five are encumbered by career officials, and four are recent political appointments from Trump campaign/connections that include Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Michelle Giuda (Gingrich), DAS for Digital Strategy in the Bureau of Public Affairs Len Khodorkovsky (campaign), DAS for Strategic Communications in the Bureau of Public Affairs Adrienne Ross (?) and Senior Advisor for Public Engagement in the Bureau of Public Affairs Kathryn Wellner (campaign).
Six bureaus and offices report to the Acting Under Secretary:Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA-nominee pending); Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP-no nominee announced)); Bureau of Public Affairs (PA-filled); Office of Policy, Planning and Resources (R/PPR); Expo Unit (EXPO) and the Global Engagement Center (GEC-no nominee announced).
One senior R adviser who recently left State notes the potential fallout from the Goldstein firing (see The Other Firing At State And What That Means).
…the Department's Global Engagement Center, is managed by acting civil service and foreign service staff who reported directly to Goldstein. From The Other Firing At State And What That Means
via @grahamlampa https://t.co/pp9OlaU2O0
— Diplopundit (@Diplopundit) March 16, 2018
— Josh Lederman (@joshledermanAP) March 18, 2018
A top state department job goes to a cable TV host from Fox & Friends — the show where Kellyanne shills for Ivanka's clothes. What did we expect when a TV reality show host became president?https://t.co/kdHrniN6A1
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) March 16, 2018
WH official told me earlier today: “Heather is the only one at State we trust.” https://t.co/YuTfUopm2s
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) March 13, 2018
— Conor Finnegan (@cjf39) March 13, 2018
— Matt Lee (@APDiploWriter) March 14, 2018
Trump installs former 'Fox & Friends' host as under secretary of state. The WH Heather Nauert as acting under secretary for public diplomacy, “Heather is the only one at State we trust.”
— AsperGirl, Under Attack by LW Trolls (@AsperGirl) March 14, 2018
Posted: 2:50 am ET
CNN reported late on March 13 that Tillerson’s chief of staff, Margaret Peterlin, and deputy chief of staff, Christine Ciccone, also submitted their resignations on Tuesday, according to two senior State Department officials. Both are expected to serve until Tillerson leaves on March 31.
We wrote about Tillerson’s inner circle at State last June, see Rex Tillerson’s Inner Circle Photo Album, Say Cheese Con Quezo!
Politico’ Nahal Toosi also reported these departures on March 14 and notes that “Many State staffers say the two were widely disliked for severely limiting access to the secretary, sidelining career diplomats and slowing down an already cumbersome decision-making process.” And that’s not an exhaustive list.
We’d like to know what happens to the staffers that Tillerson’s aides brought with them to Foggy Bottom now that they’re leaving. Are they leaving, too? Any personnel conversions to Civil Service or conversions to special government service (SGEs)? Curious minds would like to know.
Chief of staff Margaret Peterlin watches Tillerson from the wings pic.twitter.com/y6qEfVGX1M
— Josh Lederman (@joshledermanAP) March 13, 2018
— POLITICO (@politico) March 14, 2018
No love lost for Tillerson's chief of staff & other aides. One State Dept. official tells me: “I think the record will show it wasn’t Rex who got himself fired. It was the echelon of inept and obstructionist staff he came with who got him fired.” https://t.co/Lf5BlAoiTQ
— Robbie Gramer (@RobbieGramer) March 13, 2018
Peterlin was a controversial figure at State. Some officials blame her for some of the personnel and procedural chaos at State during the redesign
— Robbie Gramer (@RobbieGramer) March 13, 2018
With Tillerson's team dropping like flies, the big unknown is Brian Hook and his 15-person team at Policy Planning. “Everyone wants to know what will happen to Hook,” one official said. https://t.co/2qdKfCCdLD pic.twitter.com/Ix57NXv3cB
— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) March 14, 2018
State Dept announces Policy Planning chief Brian Hook will go to Vienna for an Iran deal meeting March 16. Hook, who was basically Tillerson's policy brain, cultivated good ties with the White House and is expected to survive his ouster.
— Nicholas Wadhams (@nwadhams) March 14, 2018
Not sure how long Hook is able to stay but S/P needs to return to its original role, and Pompeo needs a strong career "P" to support him. https://t.co/sQGoudb9vh
— Diplopundit (@Diplopundit) March 14, 2018
U.S. @StateDept Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of State Brian Hook discussed the importance of the #IndoPacific region and U.S. policy toward Asia. Read the transcript here: https://t.co/7ItY6sgZxn #AsiaPacificMediaHub #peace #stability #prosperity pic.twitter.com/qpo4guPHjp
— US EAP Media Hub (@eAsiaMediaHub) January 20, 2018
The 69th Secretary of State Rex Tillerson via state.gov:
Good afternoon, all. I received a call today from the President of the United States a little after noontime from Air Force One, and I’ve also spoken to White House Chief of Staff Kelly to ensure we have clarity as to the days ahead. What is most important is to ensure an orderly and smooth transition during a time that the country continues to face significant policy and national security challenges.
As such, effective at the end of the day, I’m delegating all responsibilities of the office of the Secretary to Deputy Secretary of State Sullivan. My commission as Secretary of State will terminate at midnight, March the 31st. Between now and then, I will address a few administrative matters related to my departure and work towards a smooth and orderly transition for Secretary of State-Designate Mike Pompeo.
I’m encouraging my policy planning team and under secretaries and assistant secretaries – those confirmed as well as those in acting positions – to remain at their post and continue our mission at the State Department in working with the interagency process. I will be meeting members of my front office team and policy planning later today to thank them for their service. They have been extraordinarily dedicated to our mission, which includes promoting values that I view as being very important: the safety and security of our State Department personnel; accountability, which means treating each other with honesty and integrity; and respect for one another, most recently in particular to address challenges of sexual harassment within the department.
I want to speak now to my State Department colleagues and to our interagency colleagues and partners at DOD and the Joint Chiefs of Staff most particularly. To my Foreign Service officers and Civil Service colleagues, we all took the same oath of office. Whether you’re career, employee, or political appointee, we are all bound by that common commitment: to support and defend the constitution, to bear true faith and allegiance to the same, and to faithfully discharge the duties of our office.
As a State Department, we’re bound together by that oath. We remain steadfast here in Washington and at posts across the world, many of whom are in danger pay situations without their families. The world needs selfless leaders like these, ready to work with longstanding allies, new emerging partners and allies, who now – many are struggling as democracies, and in some cases are dealing with human tragedy, crisis of natural disasters, literally crawling themselves out of those circumstances. These are experiences that no lecture hall in a academic environment or at a think tank can teach you. Only by people going to the front lines to serve can they develop this kind of talent.
To the men and women in uniform, I’m told for the first time in most people’s memory, the Department of State and Department of Defense have a close working relationship where we all agree that U.S. leadership starts with diplomacy. The men and women in uniform at the Department of Defense, under the leadership of Secretary Mattis and General Dunford, protect us as Americans and our way of life daily, at home and abroad. As an all-volunteer military, they do it for love of country, they do it for you, and they do it for me, and for no other reason. As Americans, we are all eternally grateful to each of them, and we honor their sacrifices.
The rewarding part of having leadership and partnerships in place is that you can actually get some things done. And I want to give recognition to the State Department and our partners for a few of their accomplishments under this administration.
First, working with allies, we exceeded the expectations of almost everyone with the DPRK maximum pressure campaign. With the announcement on my very first trip as Secretary of State to the region that the era of strategic patience was over, and we commenced the steps to dramatically increase not just the scope but the effectiveness of the sanctions. The department undertook a global campaign to bring partners and allies on board in every country around the world, with every embassy and mission raising this to the highest levels. And at every meeting I’ve had throughout the year, this has been on the agenda to discuss.
The adoption of the South Asia strategy with a conditions-based military plan is the tool to compel the Taliban to reconciliation and peace talks with the Afghan Government. Finally equipped are military planners with a strategy which they can execute as opposed to a succession of 16 one-year strategies. This clear military commitment attracted the support of allies broadly and equipped our diplomats with a whole new level of certainty around how to prepare for the peace talks and achieve the final objectives.
In other areas, while progress has been made, much work remains. In Syria, we did achieve important ceasefires and stabilizations, which we know has saved thousands of lives. There’s more to be done in Syria, particularly with respect to achieving the peace, as well as stabilizing Iraq and seeing a healthy government installed, and more broadly in the entire global campaign to defeat ISIS. Nothing is possible without allies and partners, though.
Much work remains to establish a clear view of the nature of our future relationship with China. How shall we deal with one another over the next 50 years and ensure a period of prosperity for all of our peoples, free of conflict between two very powerful nations?
And much work remains to respond to the troubling behavior and actions on the part of the Russian Government. Russia must assess carefully as to how its actions are in the best interest of the Russian people and of the world more broadly. Continuing on their current trajectory is likely to lead to greater isolation on their part, a situation which is not in anyone’s interest.
So to my colleagues in the State Department and in the interagency, much remains to be done to achieve our mission on behalf of the American people with allies and with partners. I close by thanking all for the privilege of serving beside you for the last 14 months. Importantly, to the 300-plus million Americans, thank you for your devotion to a free and open society, to acts of kindness towards one another, to honesty, and the quiet hard work that you do every day to support this government with your tax dollars.
All of us, we know, want to leave this place as a better place for the next generation. I’ll now return to private life as a private citizen, as a proud American, proud of the opportunity I’ve had to serve my country. God bless all of you. God bless the American people. God bless America.
Rex Tillerson's farewell speech: https://t.co/6iMiOVtCeI He took no questions from the press.
— Carol Morgan (@CounselorCarol1) March 13, 2018
Posted: 12:46 am ET
Via AIT Taiwan:
Check out our 2018 Lunar New Year video!https://t.co/g53R9QyqC5
— US Con HK & Macau (@USAinHKMacau) February 15, 2018
The U.S. Embassy will be closed in observance of Chinese New Year on Thursday, February 15 – Friday, February 16 and U.S. President’s Day on Monday, February 19. We wish everyone celebrating a happy & prosperous Lunar New Year. https://t.co/9PhAK61G4b
— US Embassy Singapore (@RedWhiteBlueDot) February 14, 2018
— US ConsulateSurabaya (@USConGenSby) February 16, 2018
— U.S. Embassy KL (@usembassykl) February 13, 2018
AND THEN THIS —
Chinese hack US Embassy Beijing web site Lunar New Year greeting… https://t.co/72gLPU8Svz
— Public Diplomacy (@PDCouncil) February 12, 2018
1/3The purpose of U.S. Mission China’s social media channels is to inform& educate Chinese audiences about U.S. culture, policies, and people as well as the U.S.-China relationship, and to provide info, comments and ideas to the U.S. Mission to China in an informal, civil manner pic.twitter.com/YWsryj4bXA
— 美国驻华使领馆 US MissionCN (@USA_China_Talk) February 12, 2018