Donald Trump fired all politically appointed foreign ambassadors on the day he was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. Political ambassadors are usually major donors who are nominated by virtue of their close ties with the president. Such ambassadors, unlike chiefs of missions who are career diplomats, almost always leave at the end of his term.
Trump gave absolutely no grace period and ordered Ambassadors who are appointed by former President Barack Obama to leave their offices by midday on 20 January 2017.
Former US Ambassador to Singapore, Kirk Wagar, was no different and had to pack his bags before Trump ascended the Presidency. But he did so in brazen support of the outgoing President – by wearing a Obama T-shirt as he departed from Changi Airport.
And now, the Democrats have placed a hold on Trump’s nominee KT McFarland to be ambassador to Singapore until she answers their questions about her knowledge of communications between former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about conversations with Russia’s ambassador. He added that he was cooperating with the special counsel’s office.
McFalrland has claimed that she “was not aware” of any communications between Flynn and the Russian ambassador. CNN reported last month that the President of the United States (POTUS) nominee’s assertion appears to contradict unsealed Court documents.
Trump renominated Mcfarland on Monday for the same position and sent it to the Senate for confirmation. It is however unclear how long the confirmation process will take.
Meanwhile, Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath heads the US embassy here, serving as charge d’affaires, ad interim and acting United States ambassador to Singapore.