Democratic Senator Bob Menendez from New York on Sunday bashed President Donald Trump for accusing Democrats of obstructing the process of approving diplomats, saying that a series of vacant ambassadorial positions are still waiting for presidential nomination.
“This Administration has routinely denigrated the responsibilities of our diplomatic and development corps and deemed them low priorities for American foreign policy. Rather than blaming others, the President should examine his record,” Menendez said in a statement.
Menendez, who is the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, numbered several vacant ambassador posts in the Middle East and Africa that should be a priority, including Turkey, Egypt, and Somalia. He wrote in a tweet that Trump is “the problem,” a remark that comes as a result of the President’s tweets on Sunday where he accused the Democrats of obstructing the confirmation process.
“The Democrats continue to Obstruct the confirmation of hundreds of good and talented people who are needed to run our government…A record in U.S. history,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “State Department, Ambassadors and many others are being slow walked. Senate must approve NOW!”
However, the American Foreign Service Association said that there are 44 vacant ambassador positions open in the State Department, including six countries for which the United States does not exchange a top diplomat.
According to The Hill, Menendez on Sunday also criticized the management of the State Department, which is helmed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
“President Trump must understand American leadership can only occur if American leaders are present on the international stage,” said Menendez. “Prioritizing diplomatic nominations only when there are sudden crises is not a strategy and not in the national security interest of the United States.”
Trump has been under a lot of pressure in recent months since most of his senior and most experienced diplomats resigned with the majority of them saying that they cannot continue working under the new White House administration views of how foreign relations should be conducted.