This morning, while Rex Tillerson — who is expected to be confirmed as Donald Trump’s Secretary of State — was inside the State Department’s headquarters, the State Department’s Under Secretary for Management — Patrick Kennedy, who has been in the position for nine years — walked the fuck out, followed by three of his top aides, according to the Washington Post.
All three were career foreign service officers who had worked under administrations from both parties. With the addition of two other State Department senior officials, who resigned on January 20th, this essentially empties the house where it concerns senior management.
“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.”
Apparently, there is some dispute about whether the senior level officials were pushed out or if they left, but what is certain is that there was a “sudden departure,” a sudden departure is not normal, and it is also “disruptive” and “concerning,” according to the Post, especially with an administration already as chaotic as Trump’s. These positions are not easy to fill, and once they are filled, it will be difficult for the new team to transition without the aid of the departing members.
Given the timing of it and the fact that four people walked out while Tillerson was in the building, it certainly looks like a resistance effort designed to send a message.