The Times reports the State Department sent out a notice on December 23 informing the ambassadors of Trump’s order. The move sent shock waves through the diplomatic corps as some ambassadors in previous transitions had been given time to leave their post for personal convenience.
Mr. Trump has taken a hard line against leaving any of President Obama’s political appointees in place as he prepares to take office on Jan. 20 with a mission of dismantling many of his predecessor’s signature foreign and domestic policy achievements. “Political” ambassadors, many of them major donors who are nominated by virtue of close ties with the president, almost always leave at the end of a president’s term; ambassadors who are career diplomats often remain in their posts.
A senior Trump transition official said there was no ill will in the move, describing it as a simple matter of ensuring that Mr. Obama’s overseas appointees leave the government on schedule, just as thousands of political aides at the White House and in federal agencies must do. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about internal deliberations, said the ambassadors should not be surprised about being held to a hard end date.”