Q&A – U.S. Ambassador’s And The Impeachment Inquiry Process

Today’s entry - The Ambassador (Marie Yovanovitch) was an Obama holdover; Trump should have replaced her even sooner!!!

Bottom Line: It's a relevant point and an interesting topic. Most people don't really know much about ambassadors. The added interest of the impeachment inquiry process provides an opportunity to discuss the background of Yovanovitch and other ambassadors participating in the impeachment inquiry process. Marie Yovanovich is a career government official who started her career with the U.S. Foreign Service in 1986, she was only an ambassador to Ukraine for under three years. President Obama nominated her for the post on May 18th, 2016 and she was confirmed in the Senate on July 14th, taking over the post on August 12th in the final months of the Obama administration. While she was nominated by President Obama, it’s worth noting that she was confirmed by a Republican-controlled Senate. 

Now, US ambassadors. How many are political appointments? How many are holdovers/career people? The United States has 182 diplomatic relationships. Meaning there’s the potential for 182 ambassadors. No president has ever attempted to remove all ambassadors upon taking office, it would have the potential to cause international chaos. It is common to have a combination of attrition and new appointments with different administrations. President Trump confirmed 146 ambassadors and currently has 32 pending confirmations.

President Trump already has turned over most of the posts worldwide, but it’s been a process and continues to be with the 32 individuals that are currently awaiting Senate votes. The average tour of a US Ambassador is three years. There’s a mix of career and political appointments that are made for these posts. A career appointment is someone who’s appointed from the ranks of the U.S. Foreign Service, while a political appointment is one who comes from outside of government. Historically, 30% of ambassadors are political appointments. Under President Trump that number is over 40%, meaning he’s been appointing 33% more outsiders to posts than the average president. 

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