State Department career officials filed a second unprecedented wire of dissent condemning President Donald Trump for inciting the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and urging senior administrative officials to consider the 25th amendment to remove him from office.
The cable of dissent is that second such cable Sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week, reflecting widespread shock and anger from the diplomatic corps over Trump’s actions and Pompeo’s own response to the political crisis. The protest by American diplomats against the sitting US president is largely unprecedented in the Ministry’s almost 232-year history.
The cable reprimanded Pompeo for “failing to issue a statement clearly recognizing that President-elect Biden won the 2020 election” and protested the president’s “inciting insurgent violence against the United States”. Foreign policy could not independently confirm the number of officials who signed the cable, but one of the officials who signed it on condition of anonymity said around 175 State Department officials, mostly lawyers, had signed up.
The second cable goes further than that first cable in elaborate arguments for how the President’s actions undermine US foreign policy and democratic institutions. She also urged Pompeo to support consultations with other Cabinet officials to potentially take advantage of the 25th amendment to impeach the president.
“In order to protect our Constitution from the threat posed by this President, we urge Secretary Pompeo to … strongly publicly condemn the role of the President in attacking democratic values and American democracy” and “to support all legitimate mechanisms, to mitigate the ongoing measures. ” Threats to American democracy, including consulting Vice President Pence and other executive officers on the possible implementation of the procedures foreseen in Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, ”the cable reads.
The agency’s use of the agency’s private dissent channel twice a week to condemn Trump’s behavior also appears to have no historical precedent. Previous dissenting cables have focused on US policies or State Department management practices, and no previous dissenting cable among those publicly available has characterized the president anywhere near a threat to democracy.
A copy of the full text of the cable received from Foreign Policy can be found below.
Pompeo condemned the violence in the US Capitol as “unacceptable” in a series of tweets, but made no mention of Trump. Pompeo met with President-elect Joe Biden’s scheduled secretary-of-state, Antony Blinken, on Friday to “facilitate an orderly transition and ensure that American interests abroad are protected,” said a senior State Department official, describing the meeting as ” very productive “. “The meeting came the day after Trump issued a statement saying he would consent to a peaceful transfer of power despite failing to trace back baseless claims that the election had been stolen from him.
Top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Gregory Meeks, also reprimanded Pompeo for failing to criticize Trump and reiterated Democratic lawmakers’ growing support for impeachment.
“Our allies look in horror at Wednesday’s events as autocrats celebrate the perceived failure of American democracy. In the meantime, Secretary Pompeo has barely said a word – not surprising given his longstanding role as a Trump enabler. The House is moving towards impeachment because the threat that President Trump poses to peace and security at home and abroad cannot last a day, “Meeks said in a statement Foreign policy.
“Secretary Pompeo should listen to the lawyers and experts in his own department and take steps himself to contain this threat – everything else is cowardice and complicity.”
Neither the State Department nor the Office of the Republican Supreme Leader on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul, responded to a request for comment.
Some Republican lawmakers have spoken out against impeachment in the final days of Trump’s presidency, arguing that it will only divide the country further. Others said it was unfair to blame all of the violent mob that raided the Capitol at Trump’s feet.
The Foreign Ministry’s dissent channel, first established during the Vietnam War, enables employees around the world to bypass levels of bureaucracy and send formal dissent cables directly to the Secretary of State. As a valued institution, it has traditionally been used to criticize the direction of US foreign policy or to urge policymakers not to intervene when innocent people are being killed around the world. One famous cable protested American support for a Pakistani dictator during a 1971 genocide in what is now Bangladesh, while another criticized Washington’s failure to act during the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of Bosnian Muslims.
While Dissent Cables are not classified, the Dissent Channel is for internal use only, and the protests are not made public when they are dispatched. Proponents of the system say the channel encourages constructive disagreement and can move Washington policymakers to better policies.
Using the dissent channel in response to Trump’s refusal to admit defeat and inciting a mob to ransack the U.S. Capitol has generated both support and anger from State Department officials. Some believe it is important that State Department officials maintain their opposition to the President’s behavior. Others believe their counterparts are abusing the aberrant cable channel in a way that further engages the diplomatic corps in politics at a moment precarious to the country’s political system.
Diplomats should be protected from retaliation when using the channel, which is codified in the manual of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The monitoring group Government Oversight Project Since the State Department’s Dissent Channel was founded in the 1970s, an average of only five to ten dissent cables have been broadcast per year.
The cables condemning Trump this week are likely the biggest disagreement from the diplomatic corps since 2017, when at least 1,000 diplomats protested Trump’s order to ban citizens from multiple Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. The cable attracted more signatories than anyone else in the history of the division’s dissenting channel in half a century.
The storming of the Capitol resulted in five deaths, including one police officer, and 56 police officers injured. It sparked international turmoil and widened the divide within the Republican Party.
The day after the siege of the Capitol, Trump posted a short video on Twitter indicating that he would be promoting the transition to a Biden administration. Twitter has since banned Trump from the social media platform and terminated his @ realdonaldtrump account for his role in inciting violence.
Democrats have urged Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and initiate the removal of Trump from office – but Pence has shown no such inclination. Instead, House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said the Democrats would try again next week to indict Trump. They plan to charge him with inciting the US Capitol uprising and hope to be able to vote on the matter by Wednesday. The drive is likely to stall in the Republican-controlled Senate, which won’t return to session until the day before the inauguration.