And this is why we can’t find anyone to serve in our Diplomatic Corps

Yesterday, when Energy Secretary Rick Perry referred to Puerto Rico as a country, apparently not understanding that it’s an American territory, I though that we’d perhaps reached a Trump administration low point that might actually stand through the weekend. But then Trump took the stage at at a conference of American hate groups today and proceeded to talk about how he’d just talked with the President of the US Virgin Islands, who, he implied, was quite complimentary of his recent handling of hurricane relief efforts in the region… As the nice folks at CNN were quick to remind viewers, though, the conversation couldn’t have taken place as described, as Trump himself is the President of the US Virgin Islands.

This is some next level shit. This isn’t just Trump lying about receiving a phone call that was never made. This is him making up a meeting with himself, in which one of his selves praises the other one for having done great things that were never done… It’s like we’re living inside a Charlie Kaufman script.

[If you’re still wondering why we can’t find competent people to serve in the U.S. Diplomatic Corps under the Trump administration, I’d suggest reading “Rex Tillerson at the Breaking Point” in the New Yorker, and “American Kakistocracy” in the Atlantic, the latter of which includes the following passage… “At the State Department, we have a secretary and two deputy secretaries in place—but only two of the nearly 30 critical undersecretaries or assistant secretaries, with none even nominated for the vast majority of the positions. A slew of key ambassadorships remain vacant, including sensitive spots like South Korea, Congo, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and Venezuela—none of which even have a nominee!”]

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  1. Iron Lung
    Posted October 14, 2017 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    That’s cool performance art.

  2. Posted October 14, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    The other reason that they can’t find any qualified people to serve as American representatives abroad, of course, is that almost every Republican with foreign policy credentials came out against Trump in the primaries, saying that his presidency would be a disaster. So it’s not likely, even if they wanted to serve, that he would have them.

  3. Posted October 14, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    And, meanwhile, as the State Department is falling apart, the Trump administration is seeking to significantly increase our military budget. It’s as though a decision has been made to forgo diplomacy completely, relying instead on the the threat of overwhelming military dominance. This, as I suspect most of you would agree, is a short-sighted and extremely dangerous approach to global politics… and one that will likely get many of our children killed.

  4. Iron Lung
    Posted October 14, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    I could use a job. If they want to hire me, I’m down.

  5. Lynne
    Posted October 14, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    A guy I know at the GAO often has to work with the State Dept. He describes the typical State Dept employee as Type A Ivy League. They have been told to do nothing. And it is apparently driving them nuts as they are high achievers used to working hard. Seats in the cafeteria are hard to come by I guess.

    Oh and Pete, he also once said to me, “You don’t *have* to be an asshole to work at State, but it sure doesn’t seem to hold anyone back” so you might fit right in. Go for it!

  6. Posted October 14, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Just take a picture of yourself with a red “Make America Great Again” hat, Pete, and send it in with you CV, requesting an ambassadorship. Given your fondness of Africa, maybe you could get the Congo office, which has yet to be filled. I suspect your PhD alone would put you at the top of the list.

  7. Lynne
    Posted October 14, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    In all seriousness, I suspect that Pete would be a good fit for the State Department and certainly has the education they like as well as some valuable experience.

  8. Lynne
    Posted October 14, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

  9. ypsidoodledandy
    Posted October 16, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Relax. Trump being confused is not exactly news (he spoke to the Governor and called him the President).

    If you want to worry, worry about this:

    It is odd, the not filling positions in the administration–since they have demonstrated they can get utterly unqualified people confirmed to cabinet positions, the lower positions should be easy to fill with even more unqualified people. You would think Kelly would be working on this, unless Trump instructed him not to because Trump wants to keep the government the same as he did his business–small staff, constantly changing except family, and thus him in control of everything.

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  1. […] how we’ve talked in the past about how very few competent people want to serve in Trump’s Diplomatic Corps? Well, Hoekstra, it would seem, is one of those people who stepped up in the absence of qualified […]

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