mcloudy.png
Sunday May 19th, 2019 6:48PM

Top career US diplomat to step down in blow to State Dept

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top career U.S. diplomat announced Thursday he will step down, dealing a blow to the State Department as the Trump administration confronts numerous international challenges.

The State Department's third-ranking official, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon, informed agency staffers that he will retire as soon as a successor for his Senate-confirmed post is chosen and ready to assume the job. Shannon is a near 35-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service and was the most senior department official to remain in his job after the transition from the Obama to the Trump administrations. He served under six presidents of both political parties since 1984 and was widely seen as a symbol of diplomatic continuity and professionalism during the tumultuous transition last year.

In an interview, Shannon, who holds the rank of "career ambassador" — the highest in the foreign service — said he was retiring for personal and not political reasons. "I decided it was an important moment to take a step back and to determine what next I can do in my life," Shannon said. He said the death of his mother late last year and his own 60th birthday last week contributed to his decision. But he also said he considered himself the "designated survivor" when former President Barack Obama tapped him for the undersecretary post in February 2016.

"Aside from helping the Obama administration to the finish line, I knew my job was also about helping this institution navigate the political transition, get across the river," he said. "And, once across that river, help this institution — the foreign service and civil service — be responsive to our elected leadership."

"I've served well across 35 years," Shannon continued. "I've fought the good fight. I've lived by my oath and I want to go out living by my oath, which is respect for the Constitution, respecting our political institutions, respecting our values and respecting the choices that the American people have made."

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has been criticized for his leadership of the State Department and removing or forcing out senior career officials, said he had asked Shannon to stay on and acknowledged that Shannon's departure would be a loss. "Thirty-five years of experience is not something you replace overnight," he said.

Tillerson dropped by during the interview and said Shannon could return if he did not enjoy retirement.

"There will always be a place for Tom Shannon at the State Department," Tillerson said, adding he would miss Shannon's "encyclopedic" knowledge of the State Department and U.S. diplomatic history. "He is the senior statesman."

Tillerson's praise aside, Shannon's departure is sure to be seized on by critics of the administration who accuse Trump and Tillerson of gutting the foreign service, particularly its senior ranks. Of five "career ambassadors" on the job when Tillerson arrived at the State Department, only one remains and that diplomat is currently on sabbatical.

Shannon, who has extensive diplomatic experience in Africa and Latin America and led U.S. delegations to Russia last year, said he had confidence in younger foreign service officers to carry on despite today's "hyper-politcized" American politics.

"It would be my hope that, independent of the political forces that swirl in this town, that especially my foreign service colleagues, both present and past, will recognize the importance of honoring the profession and our ethos of service."

Shannon said he had "supreme confidence" in the younger generation of foreign service officers, 60 percent of whom have been diplomats for less than 10 years.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Business, AP Business - Careers
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Doctors warn of heart risk from some breast cancer therapies
Health experts are stepping up warnings that certain breast cancer treatments may harm the heart
8:40AM ( 20 minutes ago )
North Korean athletes arrive in South Korea for Olympics
Ten North Korean skaters and skiers have arrived in rival South Korea to participate in this month's Winter Olympics, which has brought a temporary lull in tensions over the North's nuclear weapons program
8:34AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Global markets mixed after Fed keeps rate unchanged
Global markets are trading mixed after the Federal Reserve left its benchmark interest rate unchanged
8:08AM ( 52 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Logan Paul dealing with fallout from controversial blog post
YouTube star Logan Paul is dealing with fallout from controversial blog posting, including calls for his suicide
8:02AM ( 58 minutes ago )
Reaction to Trump's immigration offer casts doubt on a deal
There's no sign of a compromise on immigration after the president's State of the Union address
7:26AM ( 1 hour ago )
10 Things to Know for Today
Among 10 Things to Know: FBI clashes with Trump, has 'grave concerns' about Russia memo; AP confirms Myanmar massacre and 5 mass graves; Dozens of Russians have Olympic doping bans lifted
6:31AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
The Latest: Israel views Polish vote with 'utmost gravity'
Israel's Foreign Ministry says Israel "opposes categorically" the vote in the Polish Senate in favor of regulating Holocaust speech.
5:49AM ( 3 hours ago )
Polish Senate backs controversial Holocaust speech law
Poland's Senate has backed legislation regulating Holocaust speech that has sparked a diplomatic dispute with Israel and calls from the United States for a reconsideration of a bill seen as threatening freedom of speech
5:00AM ( 3 hours ago )
Seoul downplays speculation over US ambassadorship
South Korea downplays report that the U.S. might have reconsidered its choice for Seoul ambassador because he didn't endorse the idea of military action against North Korea
3:19AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
UK's May: EU citizens won't get same rights after Brexit
Prime Minister Theresa May says European Union nationals who come to the country during a transition period after Britain leaves the bloc should not have the same rights to remain in the country as those who come earlier
8:02AM ( 57 minutes ago )
Dutch watchdog urges slash to gas extraction to limit quakes
A mining watchdog is advising the Dutch government to significantly decrease the amount of gas extracted from the northeastern Groningen region, saying a cut is necessary to reduce the risk of damage caused by earthquakes triggered by the extraction
7:55AM ( 1 hour ago )
Putting on the Ritz: Paris hotel auctions its luxury pieces
The Ritz hotel in Paris is putting to auction more than 10,000 pieces of furniture and decorative objects including bathtubs, beds and minibars
7:52AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Microsoft and LinkedIn: Is their marriage working?
It's been just over a year since Microsoft swallowed the career networking site LinkedIn, which is perhaps long enough to start asking if the $27 billion deal was worth it
5:08PM ( 15 hours ago )
Startup hub reflects Macron's changing French economy
Paris startup hub Station F is part of what President Emmanuel Macron hopes is a fundamental shift in the French economy
2:13PM ( 18 hours ago )
Thousands of lost Atlantic City casino jobs are coming back
Atlantic City, New Jersey, tries to put years of casino closings, job losses behind it; new Hard Rock, Ocean Resort casinos will add thousands of jobs
4:16PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Careers
Doctors warn of heart risk from some breast cancer therapies
Health experts are stepping up warnings that certain breast cancer treatments may harm the heart
8:40AM ( 20 minutes ago )
North Korean athletes arrive in South Korea for Olympics
Ten North Korean skaters and skiers have arrived in rival South Korea to participate in this month's Winter Olympics, which has brought a temporary lull in tensions over the North's nuclear weapons program
8:34AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Global markets mixed after Fed keeps rate unchanged
Global markets are trading mixed after the Federal Reserve left its benchmark interest rate unchanged
8:08AM ( 52 minutes ago )
UK's May: EU citizens won't get same rights after Brexit
Prime Minister Theresa May says European Union nationals who come to the country during a transition period after Britain leaves the bloc should not have the same rights to remain in the country as those who come earlier
8:02AM ( 57 minutes ago )
Dutch watchdog urges slash to gas extraction to limit quakes
A mining watchdog is advising the Dutch government to significantly decrease the amount of gas extracted from the northeastern Groningen region, saying a cut is necessary to reduce the risk of damage caused by earthquakes triggered by the extraction
7:55AM ( 1 hour ago )