One of the first casualties of President Trump’s murky dealings with Ukraine has been the United States Foreign Service, the group of nonpartisan career professionals who serve as America’s primary point of contact with the world beyond our borders. While the House impeachment inquiry has rightly become a top priority, Congress must also act to repair the substantial damage Mr. Trump has caused to the effectiveness and morale of our diplomats and other State Department employees.
Mr. Trump’s disdain for career diplomats was on display in his now infamous July 25 phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, during which he disparaged a highly respected Foreign Service officer, Marie Yovanovitch, as “bad news.” Ms. Yovanovitch was Mr. Trump’s ambassador to Ukraine until he recalled her in May. Her firing sent shock waves through the ranks at the State Department.
Mr. Trump has never explained why he fired Ms. Yovanovitch. He sidelined her and other career diplomats and permitted a private citizen, Rudy Giuliani, to hijack the administration’s interactions with the new Ukrainian government. The House of Representatives should investigate.
Last week Mr. Trump attempted again to intimidate the diplomatic corps, telling American diplomats at the United States Mission to the United Nations that whoever in the administration gave information to the anonymous whistle-blower was “close to a spy.” Mr. Trump’s statement was at odds with the obligation of every federal employee to tell the truth and adhere to the law.