President Donald Trump bemoaned the personnel shortages at the State Department on Sunday as his administration readies for talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, charging Democrats with slow-walking nominees.
“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. State Department, Ambassadors and many others are being slow walked. Senate must approve NOW!” Trump tweeted.
The President has often blamed Democrats for delaying his nominations even though Republicans control the Senate. Democrats can no longer filibuster presidential appointments, but they have used procedural tactics to slow some down. They insist that Trump controls the pace of his nominations.
Before Trump’s tweet on Sunday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that she worried about the impact that State Department personnel shortages would have on negotiations with North Korea.
While “it’s good to move to diplomacy” by engaging in talks with North Korea, “the problem right now is these are very complicated negotiations,” Warren said. “There are a lot of issues involved in them, and our State Department has just been decimated.”
Warren said she’s worried the North Koreans will hoodwink Trump, who agreed to meet with Kim in the future.
“I am very worried that he is going to go into these negotiations and be taken advantage of,” Warren said.
The State Department has faced its lowest morale in years over the flight of senior foreign service talent and a perceived insular approach by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that has been interpreted by longtime employees as evidence they are undervalued.
More than a year after Inauguration Day, the Trump administration has not appointed nominees to dozens of ambassadorships.