Nearly 200 former diplomats warn of 'urgent need' to restore American diplomacy
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Nearly 200 former diplomats penned a letter expressing concern over the state of American diplomacy.

The group of former U.S. ambassadors and veteran diplomats wrote a letter to the Republican chairman and the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to The Washington Post.

The letter says that Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s GOP feuds dominate ahead of midterms The Hill's Morning Report — Trump heads to New York to shore-up GOP districts Turkish president: US set deadline to release detained pastor MORE's nomination to lead the State Department is a chance to focus on "the urgent need to restore the power and influence of American diplomacy."

The letter was organized by nonpartisan advocacy group Foreign Policy for America.

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In the letter, the group says Congress should not accept the White House proposal to cut the State Department's budget by $20 billion.

It also raises alarms regarding the number of senior leadership positions at the State Department that are not filled.

The group said senators should question Pompeo — who Trump nominated to be secretary of State after the abrupt ousting of Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonDems want GOP chairman to subpoena State Department over cyber docs Overnight Energy: Trump elephant trophy tweets blindsided staff | Execs of chemical plant that exploded during hurricane indicted | Interior to reverse pesticide ban at wildlife refuges Administration should use its leverage to get Egypt to improve its human rights record MORE — on his opinions on the "critical mission" of diplomacy to advance the interests of America.

The letter was signed by people who have served in both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Nicholas Burns, a former undersecretary of State for political affairs and ambassador to NATO, said the letter was a “cry from the heart."

“There’s a hope maybe a strong secretary like Mike Pompeo, with a good record at the CIA supporting career people, will decide it’s time to rebuild the State Department,” Burns told the Post. “What Tillerson tried to do was a disaster for the foreign service.”

Trump earlier this month formally sent Pompeo's nomination for secretary of State to the Senate. Pompeo, who previously ran the CIA, would replace Tillerson.