It has been a rough few months for the State Department.
Staffers are demoralized and frustrated with a chief executive that not only seems to misunderstand the entire purpose of a State Department but seems to dismiss the innate value of its existence. I mean, Donald Trump is victim enough of the Dunning-Kruger effect as to believe he a skilled negotiator. Having that kind of man at the head of your diplomatic corp cannot be good for morale.
This must be especially true when Trump’s chief goal seems to be isolating the United States from even its allies and turning complicated relationships into outright hostility via an obsessive need to constantly vent the squawking of whatever seagulls are flying over his landfill of a brain. It gives the State Department very little hope as an organization. Having former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson fired unceremoniously via Twitter certainly did not help. So what poor sucker did they finally put in charge?
Enter Mike Pompeo, the new Secretary of State. When they asked what everyone was doing for the rest of the administration’s life (six weeks to three years, we guess), Pompeo was apparently the only one who couldn’t come up with a convincing lie. And now he’s saddled with a job no one wants. He’s working hand in hand with a President that likely snubs the very idea of the department he runs.
Tillerson pushed budget cuts and left an incredible number of positions unfilled, demoralizing a staff that saw their internal relevancy waning despite increasingly dire political situations around the world. Pompeo promises to move the department even further to the right than Tillerson, a man who once ran Exxon Mobil.
Pompeo previously headed the CIA and has a reputation as “hard-charging” according to the New York Times. Pompeo was also barely approved by the Senate, with a confirmation vote just about closer than any confirmation vote for the position in recent times. He got only 57 yeas, which is at least one better than Tillerson’s 56. So maybe he can put that on his resume: one better than a guy that got fired over Twitter.
Pompeo zoomed right out of the country moments after his nomination, and the dude has plenty on his plate. We’ve got Korea for sure but also Iran and Syria to deal with. But the guy has some seriously hawkish policy views, which aligns him with 70s-mustache-supervillain John Bolton, the new National Security Advisor. He also hates the gays and the Muslims but that’s practically required to serve in Trump’s cabinet.
So not only do we have a giant jerk a Secretary of State, we have a giant jerk that couldn’t come up with a lie to get out of the worst job in Washington.