Donald Trump has begun to write his own political history and diplomatic rule book.
The President-elect’s team are reported to have demanded ambassadors appointed by Barack Obama to leave their overseas posts by Inauguration Day on 20 January. The decision to provide no grace period for politically appointed ambassadors marks a significant break with decades of tradition.
The move risks leaving the US without envoys in key countries like Britain, Germany and Canada for months. It also means ambassador’s families have been forced to find places to live in America or their respective countries with very little notice
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According to a report in the New York Times, Mr Trump’s transition team issued the mandate “without exceptions” in a State Department order sent to diplomats on 23 December.
A senior Trump transition official anonymously told the publication there was no “ill will” in the decision and it was simply an attempt to ensure Mr Obama’s overseas appointees left the government on time.
Ambassadors are said to be thinking about appealing the decision with Rex Tillerson, the billionaire property developer’s nominee for Secretary of State.
Some envoys are said to have voiced their shock that First-Lady-in-waiting Melania Trump has been allowed to take the unusual step of remaining at their Trump Tower home in New York so their 10-year-old son Barron can finish the school year, while their personal lives have been disrupted.
Prior to the rigid timeline which is said to have been introduced, ambassadors had the option of requesting to extend their term. Republican and Democrat administrations allowed extensions on a discretionary individual by individual basis, with allowances sometimes being made for those with children at school.
So far, Mr Trump has only publicly named bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman as ambassador to Israel and Iowa Gov Terry Branstad as his ambassador to China. It is unlikely Mr Trump will have appointed all of his overseas envoys before he is inaugurate