Ambassador Rufus Gifford Sworn-in as Chief of Protocol of the United States



@StateDept Appoints Cam Henderson as Chief of Protocol


On August 12, the State Department appointed Cam Herderson as its new Chief of Protocol. She replaces Sean Lawler who was sworn in as Chief of Protocol of the United States, with rank of Ambassador on December 1, 2017. In late June, Bloomberg reported that Mr. Lawler was pulled off AF1 manifest after his staff complained of intimidating behavior, including reportedly, carrying a horsewhip in the office (see @StateDept’s Protocol Chief Sean Lawler to Quit Before G-20 Summit #horsewhip #wherearethehorses). It looks like the new Protocol Chief does not have an ambassador rank and did not require Senate confirmation. Below is a brief bio via

Cam Henderson was appointed as the Chief of Protocol of the United States on August 12, 2019. In this role, Ms. Henderson leads the Office of the Chief of Protocol in its mission to advance the foreign policy of the Trump Administration by creating and fostering an environment for successful diplomacy. Welcoming kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers, and other foreign leaders to the United States, Ms. Henderson serves on the front lines of diplomatic engagement, building bridges and fostering understanding between peoples and governments. Prior to her appointment as the Chief of Protocol of the United States, Ms. Henderson served as the Deputy Chief of Protocol.

Ms. Henderson brings 20 years of experience in politics and fundraising to her role as the Chief of Protocol. Before joining the U.S. Department of State, she was Special Assistant to the President in the Office of Presidential Personnel in the Trump Administration. She worked extensively in the political realm in New Jersey, serving as former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s finance director during his 2016 presidential campaign. From 2010-2012, Ms. Henderson honed her protocol skills as First Lady Mary Pat Christie’s Chief of Staff and Director of Protocol. In 2013, she left the NJ State House to help New Jerseyans recover from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, working as executive director of the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund and ultimately raising 42 million dollars to help with those relief efforts.

In the early stages of her career, Ms. Henderson worked for President George W. Bush in the Office of Presidential Personnel, on the George W. Bush re-election campaign, and at the Republican National Committee.

Ms. Henderson is originally from Chattanooga, TN and is a proud graduate of American University.


@StateDept’s Protocol Chief Sean Lawler to Quit #horsewhip #wherearethehorses

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Sean Lawler who was sworn in as Chief of Protocol of the United States, with rank of Ambassador on December 1, 2017 is reportedly resigning over allegations of discrimination and harassment. Bloomberg is reporting that he was pulled off AF1 manifest after his staff complained of intimidating behavior, including allegedly, carrying a horsewhip in the office.

Whoa! There are hidden horses  in Foggy Bottom that need whipping?

Folks are understandably confused. “Wait a minute. Is this right? The dude is carrying around a horse whip on the job?” Or “Wait. Carrying a horsewhip ISN’T protocol?” Or “What, exactly, is the utility of a horsewhip in matters of protocol?” One HR person who isn’t confused notes: “If your manager has a horsewhip in his office & you don’t work with horses… maybe you’re in a less-than-stellar work environment.”

An aside — horsewhip is word of the day for a bunch of folks online.  And come to think of it, what the HR person wrote made sense. This would be challenging when the Best Places to Work ranking comes around next year. The 2018 ranking, by the way, is roaring red and down -3.3 points, comparable only to the State Department’s ranking in 2003.

Anyway, Lawler who was nominated in September 2017 will reportedly resign. As of this writing, his bio is still prominently displayed on

NBC’s Josh Lederman reports that “Two U.S. officials said that employees in the chief of protocol’s office had been informed that Ambassador Sean Lawler had been suspended indefinitely pending the outcome of the investigation. A third official said that Lawler had told the State Department’s leadership he planned to submit his resignation to President Donald Trump after the G-20 summit, which starts Friday in Osaka, Japan.”  The U.S. officials who told NBC News about Lawler’s situation reportedly declined to elaborate on the specifics of the allegations, but did say that “numerous employees in his office had resigned in protest of his management and behavior.”

These media reports follow the most recent IG report on the toxic workplace at U.S. Embassy Libreville (see U.S. Embassy Gabon: State/OIG’s Ode to All Things Dreadful in a Small Post).  We’re quietly watching a couple more on bad bosses bubbling up.


U.S. Navy Vet Sean P. Lawler to Move From NSC to @StateDept to be Chief of Protocol

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On September 9, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Sean P. Lawler to be Chief of Protocol. The WH released the following bio:

Sean P. Lawler of Maryland to be Chief of Protocol and to have the rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service. Mr. Lawler is the Director for Visits, Planning, and Diplomatic Affairs at the National Security Council. Prior to that, Mr. Lawler was the Chief, Office of Visits and Protocol at the U.S. Cyber Command in Fort Meade, Maryland. A veteran with more than 20 years of service in the U.S Navy, Mr. Lawler capped his military service as the Director of Administration at the Naval Support Facility Thurmont (Camp David) in Thurmont, Maryland. Earlier, he was the Administrative Department Leading Chief Petty Officer and Ship’s Secretary on the USS John C. Stennis and he was an Executive Assistant to the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.




Senate Confirmations: Suzan G. LeVine, Peter A. Selfridge, Pamela K. Hamamoto

— Domani Spero

The Senate confirmations of the Obama nominees continue to trickle down.   Ambassador LeVine’s nomination was announced on January 30, 2014 and she was confirmed by the full Senate on May 1st. Ambassador Selfridge who moved from the WH to the State Department was nominated in December 2013.  Ambassador Hamamoto was nominated in August 1, 2013 and had waited over nine months for her Senate confirmation.


  • May 01, 2014 | Suzan G. LeVine, of Washington, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary  of the United States of America to the Swiss Confederation, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Principality of Liechtenstein.


  • May 05, 2014 | Peter A. Selfridge, of Minnesota, to be Chief of Protocol, and to have the rank of  Ambassador during his tenure of service.


  • May 08, 2014 | Pamela K. Hamamoto, of Hawaii, 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.


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Officially In: Peter A. Selfridge—From WH to State Dept’s Chief of Protocol

— Domani Spero

On December 12, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Peter A. Selfridge as the next Chief of Protocol, with the rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service at the Department of State. The WH released the following brief bio:

Peter A. Selfridge is currently the Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Advance & Operations at the White House, a position he has held since 2011.  He previously served as Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Advance in 2011, and Director of Advance for the Vice President from 2009 to 2011.  Mr. Selfridge served as Deputy Director of Advance for both the Presidential Transition Office and Obama for America from 2008 to early 2009.  Prior to this, he worked as the Los Angeles City Director at the Clinton Climate Initiative and as a Public Affairs Consultant from 2005 to 2007.  From 2003 to 2005, Mr. Selfridge served as Associate Director in the Office of Scheduling and Advance for John Kerry for President.  He was Senior Associate and Associate at Citigate Communications/Citigate Sard Verbinnen from 2001 to 2003.  Mr. Selfridge was a Media Logistics Coordinator for the Gore-Lieberman campaign in 2000 and from 1997 to 2000, he served as a Policy Analyst for The City of New York, Department of Citywide Administrative Services.  Mr. Selfridge was Director of Scheduling Correspondence and Deputy Director in the Office of Scheduling and Advance at the White House from 1995 to 1997.  From 1993 to 1995, he served as Legislative Correspondent and Staff Assistant in the office of Senator Tom Harkin.

Mr. Selfridge received a B.A. from the University of Iowa and an M.I.P.P. from Johns Hopkins University.

If confirmed, Mr. Selfridge would succeed Capricia Marshall who was appointed Chief of Protocol from from 2009 until her departure this past summer.  When her departure was reported by WaPo in May 2013, Reliable Source noted that she was the “most visible link between State’s tight-knit group of Clinton loyalists and the Obama White House” and one of the last of the Hillary Clinton insiders at the State Department to depart.  This Daily Beast farewell piece says that one of her accomplishments was “Creating the Patrons of Diplomacy Program with Secretary Clinton and raising $20 million to endow the elegant Diplomatic Reception Rooms.”

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Related item:

December 12, 2013 | President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

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