The U.S. State Department’s entire senior level of management has resigned less than a week into Donald Trump’s presidency, according to a report.
The resignations, first reported by The Washington Post, included Patrick Kennedy, the agency’s undersecretary for management who had served in that role for some nine years.
In all, four leading officials from the Department which leads the country in foreign policy issues, left their posts on Wednesday. Aside from Kennedy, Joyce Anne Barr, assistant secretary of state for administration; Michele Bond, the assistant secretary of state for consular affairs; and Gentry Smith, director of the office of foreign missions, resigned unexpectedly, the Post reports.
According to Reuters, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Thomas Countryman will also leave his job by Friday.
Though the four officials submitted letters of resignation, two senior administration officials said on Thursday that the administration had informed the officials that their services were no longer needed as part of an effort to “clean house” at Foggy Bottom.
The White House commonly asks that career officials in such high level positions stay on for a few months until their successors are confirmed.
“Any implication that these four people quit is wrong,” one senior State Department official said. “These people are loyal to the secretary, the President, and to the State Department. There is just not any attempt here to dis the President. People are not quitting and running away in disgust. This is the White House Cleaning house.
Mark Toner, the State Department’s acting spokesperson, tried to tamp down the news and said in a statement that “These positions are political appointments, and require the President to nominate and the Senate to confirm them in these roles. They are not career appointments but of limited term.”
The firings leave a huge management hole at the State Department as the named officials have a combined 150 years of institutional experience.