State Dept. senior management team resigns: report

The State Department's entire senior level of management has resigned less than a week into Donald Trump's administration.

The resignations, reported by the The Washington Post, included Patrick Kennedy, the agency's undersecretary for management who had served in the role for nine years.

Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond and Ambassador Gentry O. Smith, director of the Office of Foreign Missions, resigned as well, the Post reported.

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It is not clear whether the officials were forced out by the incoming Trump administration, but the changes shook up Washington — where Trump's approach to the foreign service had already raised eyebrows.

“It’s the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember, and that’s incredibly difficult to replicate,” David Wade, who served as State Department chief of staff under Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryLobbying world Kerry: Trump not pursuing 'smart' or 'clever' plan on North Korea Tillerson will not send high-ranking delegation to India with Ivanka Trump: report MORE, told The Post.

Earlier this year, it emerged that Trump's team had asked all politically-appointed U.S. ambassadors to clear out of their posts by Inauguration Day, in what was seen as a break with precedent. 

In a statement, acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner said all of the politically appointed officers were asked to submit letters of resignation, something he said was typical in a transition.

"Of the officers whose resignations were accepted, some will continue in the Foreign Service in other positions, and others will retire by choice or because they have exceeded the time limits of their grade in service," Toner said in the statement.

"No officer accepts a political appointment with the expectation that it is unlimited," he continued. "And all offers that the president may choose to replace them at any time."

All four had previously served presidents in both parties.

The American Foreign Service Association, the professional association and labor union of the Foreign Service, said it was aware of the media coverage of changes in the management team.

“While this appears to be a large turnover in a short period of time, a change of administration always brings personnel changes, and there is nothing unusual about rotations or retirements in the Foreign Service,” it said in a statement.

The exiting officials join a number of others who have departed since President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE took office last week. 

Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Gregory Starr retired, and director of the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations Lydia Muniz left on Friday.

President Trump's nominee for secretary of State, former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, was reportedly at the State Department headquarters on Wednesday. At the time, the Trump team was looking to hire Tillerson's No. 2 and three other officials as well as replace Kennedy. 

"I'll be filing cloture on secretary of State nominee Tillerson, which will ripen next week," McConnell told reporters during a weekly press conference.

The move would set up a procedural vote early next week and get Tillerson through Senate by the end of the week. Democrats have been lining up against Tillerson, voicing concerns about his ties to Russia and positions on human rights. 
Updated 4 p.m.