Amid global turmoil, Trump leaves ambassador posts empty

The Trump administration's decision to ...

Posted: Feb 1, 2018 1:49 AM
Updated: Feb 1, 2018 1:49 AM

The Trump administration's decision to drop plans to nominate academic Victor Cha as ambassador to South Korea -- which prompted him to issue a direct challenge to the White House over its consideration of a pre-emptive strike against North Korea -- is the latest decision that leaves a crucial diplomatic post in limbo.

As the post sits empty, so do dozens of other important ambassadorships.

Numerous countries do not currently have a Senate-confirmed US ambassador in place, including key allies alike Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia.

Of the vacant posts, around 30 are still awaiting a nominee, while seven others have nominees pending confirmation.

President Donald Trump also has yet to nominate people for senior roles at many international organizations, and to oversee important regional and issue-based bureaus.

As his administration grapples with an increasingly aggressive North Korea, Trump lacks not only a permanent ambassador to South Korea, but also a permanent Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, and a permanent Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Candidates have been nominated for both positions, but are still awaiting confirmation by the Senate.

As of Wednesday, two of the agency's six undersecretary positions await nominees, while another two have nominees who have not yet been confirmed. Most of the State Department's 24 assistant secretary positions are vacant as well, or held by an acting official.

While senior acting officials hold the reins in these important jobs, they are not permanent appointees, and are limited in how long they can hold the roles.

Federal law allows these temporary office-holders to stay in these open jobs for, at most, 300 days. But more than 370 days have elapsed since the start of the Trump administration and acting officials in the State Department are starting to hit that limit, making presidential nominations more important than ever.

One of the longest-pending ambassadorial nominees is K.T. McFarland, Trump's pick as ambassador to Singapore, who is facing an uphill battle to be confirmed as she faces tough questions about her knowledge of communications between former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.

Meanwhile, several ambassadors have retired or plan to retire in the coming months. They include John Feeley, the US ambassador to Panama who announced he will be stepping down in March over disagreements with the administration.

Trump has been slower than his recent predecessors to nominate State Department personnel. He made 81 nominations for the State Department and US Mission to the United Nations in his first year in office, compared to 128 made by then-President Barack Obama in his first year.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 490011

Reported Deaths: 6618
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1016821593
Ramsey43388811
Dakota36714394
Anoka33545392
Washington22247262
Stearns18847202
St. Louis14915265
Scott13445107
Wright12635116
Olmsted1187890
Sherburne879474
Carver790941
Clay696288
Rice678691
Blue Earth604435
Kandiyohi582274
Crow Wing523682
Chisago502945
Otter Tail487171
Benton451890
Winona419749
Mower411931
Douglas395068
Goodhue390169
Nobles387347
Polk345363
McLeod341950
Beltrami339151
Morrison328147
Itasca315346
Becker315143
Lyon314045
Isanti310056
Steele304311
Carlton300649
Freeborn287124
Pine283616
Nicollet263341
Todd250330
Brown249137
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Mille Lacs230047
Cass221424
Waseca211217
Meeker208534
Martin190829
Wabasha18733
Roseau181017
Hubbard161041
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Renville152940
Redwood147127
Fillmore14029
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Chippewa137035
Cottonwood136120
Wadena131520
Faribault125017
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Sibley118310
Watonwan11838
Rock116314
Kanabec109120
Pipestone101924
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Murray9548
Jackson94710
Swift87818
Pope8185
Marshall78715
Stevens7478
Lake74318
Clearwater72014
Lac qui Parle68816
Wilkin67711
Koochiching62111
Big Stone5173
Lincoln5122
Grant4928
Norman4808
Unassigned45368
Mahnomen4437
Kittson41121
Red Lake3615
Traverse3115
Lake of the Woods2231
Cook1190

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 337836

Reported Deaths: 5500
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk52116562
Linn19519317
Scott17180213
Black Hawk14973294
Woodbury13858214
Johnson1317875
Dubuque12452196
Dallas1023593
Pottawattamie9899146
Story965445
Warren515176
Clinton502884
Cerro Gordo501483
Webster495888
Sioux480469
Marshall465473
Des Moines428661
Muscatine426493
Buena Vista413337
Wapello4059110
Jasper388167
Plymouth369178
Lee354653
Marion341772
Jones285355
Henry279837
Bremer270655
Carroll266848
Crawford253435
Boone244830
Benton241554
Washington239247
Mahaska215846
Jackson210339
Dickinson204340
Tama203165
Kossuth198655
Delaware186340
Clay184525
Winneshiek183729
Fayette179535
Page178119
Buchanan178029
Wright174531
Hamilton173942
Cedar172923
Hardin170339
Harrison167870
Clayton160154
Butler159331
Mills148520
Floyd148141
Poweshiek148030
Cherokee146336
Lyon145741
Allamakee144948
Madison143318
Iowa140723
Hancock138030
Grundy132530
Winnebago130531
Calhoun129711
Cass129751
Jefferson128534
Appanoose123447
Louisa122644
Mitchell120740
Chickasaw119915
Union119331
Sac118818
Shelby117634
Emmet115440
Humboldt113925
Franklin109719
Guthrie109728
Palo Alto101721
Howard99722
Unassigned9790
Montgomery97036
Clarke95220
Keokuk92429
Monroe90028
Ida82132
Adair81630
Pocahontas80919
Davis76623
Monona76527
Greene73110
Lucas72321
Osceola68315
Worth6678
Taylor64112
Decatur5719
Fremont5619
Van Buren53818
Ringgold50720
Audubon4769
Wayne47521
Adams3194
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