One More on the Problems at State
Mexico’s foreign minister, Luis Videgaray, was in Washington. The Los Angeles Times’s Tracy Wilkinson asked State spokesperson Mark Toner what the plans were for his visit. Toner, a highly regarded career foreign service officer, apparently had no idea that a key foreign dignitary was even in the city
The piece concludes:
There are two major takeaways:
Tillerson’s State Department is so poorly staffed (he doesn’t yet have a deputy or a permanent spokesperson) and out of the loop on high-level decision-making that its press secretary wasn’t even informed of a visit by the top diplomat from one of Washington’s most important strategic partners.
Foreign governments appear to be recognizing State’s weakness in the Trump administration and are bypassing America’s trained diplomatic corps. Instead, they’re speaking directly with White House aides whom they see as wielding real influence over the president. That includes ones like Jared Kushner — Trump’s son-in-law, who has no experience in international affairs or diplomacy.