state department

Nauert, a former Fox News host, waited five weeks before taking to the lectern to meet the State Department press corps, which is filled with seasoned diplomatic reporters steeped in the nuances of international issues. She was well prepared, firm but not combative and began by praising the diplomatic corps and the media for doing their jobs in service to the United States and the ideals America represents. The press corps, in turn, treated her with respect without pulling punches, a clear effort to set the relationship on the right foot and give her time to adjust to the new spotlight.

Core practices of open government are eroding in the Trump Administration, with new limitations on the ability of the press to effectively question officials on U.S. foreign policy. The problem is starkly illustrated by comparing the press briefing schedules of the State Department for May 2016 and May 2017. In May 2016, the State Department held a press briefing nearly every weekday of the month, with only two exceptions. One of them was Memorial Day. In May 2017, by contrast, there was not a single State Department press briefing. The last briefing was on April 27.

As President Trump strains alliances and relationships around the world, some of the nation’s top career diplomats are breaking publicly with him, in what amounts to a quiet revolt by a cadre of public servants known for their professional discretion. On Monday, the chargé d’affaires at the American Embassy in Beijing, David H. Rank, announced his resignation after telling his staff he could not defend the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

The No. 2 diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing resigned Monday, telling staff his conscience would not permit him to formally notify the Chinese that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris climate accord. David H. Rank, a career Foreign Service officer of 27 years, had been acting ambassador until former Iowa governor Terry Branstad (R) was confirmed as the new ambassador last month. Rank held a town meeting with embassy employees to explain he had offered his resignation and it had been accepted.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has declined a request to host an event to mark Islam's holy month of Ramadan, two U.S. officials said, apparently breaking with a bipartisan tradition in place with few exceptions for nearly 20 years. Members of Congress, Muslim civil society and community leaders, diplomats from Muslim countries and senior U.S. officials usually attend the State Department Ramadan event, a symbol of the U.S. government's diplomatic efforts with Muslim countries and people.

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A new report from the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy examines how digital technology has changed the face of PD.

For an American reader, I.I.P.’s body of work offers a fascinating look not only at what our government wants to tell the world but also at what it wants to believe about itself. The obvious conflicts of interest that accompanied Donald Trump into office are in one sense the least of I.I.P.’s problems; the larger question is what a propaganda unit is supposed to do when the pronouncements of its head of state are so often at odds with the national vision it tries to sell to the world.

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