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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 147382

Reported Deaths: 3763
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto973199
Hinds9668197
Harrison6898109
Jackson6178119
Rankin5319100
Lee487695
Madison4666106
Forrest371386
Jones346788
Lauderdale3355144
Lafayette317549
Washington3122107
Lamar283449
Oktibbeha240861
Bolivar240184
Lowndes229763
Neshoba2177115
Panola215849
Marshall209650
Leflore201490
Pontotoc196128
Monroe191477
Sunflower190555
Lincoln186865
Warren172657
Tate165451
Union163925
Pike160658
Copiah159540
Yazoo152039
Scott150729
Coahoma148743
Itawamba148234
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Alcorn146327
Simpson145153
Prentiss141230
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Grenada137745
Leake131943
Holmes126561
Tippah123030
George122324
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Winston119124
Wayne116223
Hancock115939
Marion111646
Attala109833
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Newton103629
Tallahatchie96327
Clarke88853
Clay87127
Jasper81222
Walthall75328
Stone73114
Calhoun72913
Montgomery72125
Carroll70614
Lawrence70314
Yalobusha70027
Noxubee69717
Smith69616
Perry65426
Tunica59619
Greene58422
Claiborne57616
Jefferson Davis55017
Humphreys52918
Amite51814
Benton48717
Quitman4816
Webster42114
Kemper41918
Wilkinson38722
Jefferson34211
Franklin3265
Choctaw3117
Sharkey30717
Issaquena1124
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 239318

Reported Deaths: 3532
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31391491
Mobile19562361
Tuscaloosa12813154
Madison12741146
Montgomery12198235
Shelby1000577
Baldwin847398
Lee764466
Morgan634348
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Marshall607954
Etowah606565
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Limestone413744
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Elmore400762
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Jackson307624
Colbert301941
Blount285539
Autauga268641
Franklin247833
Coffee239715
Dale230354
Dallas224531
Russell22053
Chilton219638
Covington216833
Escambia197431
Chambers173749
Tallapoosa173391
Pike157514
Clarke156319
Marion136535
Winston129923
Lawrence124836
Geneva12028
Pickens119418
Marengo119124
Barbour117010
Bibb116217
Butler114441
Randolph100921
Cherokee100824
Hale94531
Clay90223
Washington90219
Fayette87316
Henry8496
Lowndes79129
Monroe78111
Cleburne75714
Macon72321
Crenshaw70730
Bullock69119
Conecuh68314
Perry6756
Lamar6508
Wilcox63118
Sumter57122
Choctaw41913
Greene41418
Coosa3374
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