UPDATE: I’m following this situation as some of those who resigned might have been asked to leave, and in cases of senior officials the distinction may be nebulous given that they might prepare letters of resignation as part of the normal transition between administrations. All I can say is that I took the Post’s report as accurate (they’re the Post!), and that report was echoed by several other reputable sources. Meanwhile, the Post also reports that the chief of the US Border Patrol resigned:
The chief of the U.S. Border Patrol has resigned after only six months on the job, one day after President Trump announced plans to ratchet up immigration enforcement and build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, officials said Thursday.
It was not immediately clear why Mark Morgan — a career FBI official who was the first outsider to lead the agency responsible for securing the U.S. borders — left the agency. His resignation is effective Jan. 31, officials said.
But Morgan had clashed with the powerful Border Patrol union, which endorsed Trump for president and whose leaders were present at Trump’s announcement of his immigration crackdown at Department of Homeland Security headquarters Wednesday.
So this just happened: according to the Washington Post, “The entire senior level of management officials resigned Wednesday, part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior foreign service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era.” Some excerpts.
Then suddenly on Wednesday afternoon, [Undersecretary for Management Patrick] Kennedy and three of his top officials resigned unexpectedly, four State Department officials confirmed. Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond and Ambassador Gentry O. Smith, director of the Office of Foreign Missions, followed him out the door. All are career foreign service officers who have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations.
In addition, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Gregory Starr retired Jan. 20, and the director of the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations, Lydia Muniz, departed the same day. That amounts to a near-complete housecleaning of all the senior officials that deal with managing the State Department, its overseas posts and its people.
“It’s the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember, and that’s incredibly difficult to replicate,” said David Wade, who served as State Department chief of staff under Secretary of State John Kerry. “Department expertise in security, management, administrative and consular positions in particular are very difficult to replicate and particularly difficult to find in the private sector.”
. . . Ambassador Richard Boucher, who served as State Department spokesman for Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, said that while there’s always a lot of turnover around the time a new administration takes office, traditionally senior officials work with the new team to see who should stay on in their roles and what other jobs might be available. But that’s not what happened this time.
. . . By itself, the sudden departure of the State Department’s entire senior management team is disruptive enough. But in the context of a president who railed against the U.S. foreign policy establishment during his campaign and secretary of state with no government experience, the vacancies are much more concerning.
The rats are leaving the sinking ship, except that I wouldn’t call these people rats. The rats are the ones piloting the ship. And I’m going to start using the phrase Kurt Vonnegut made famous in Slaughterhouse Five: “So it goes.”