STATE DEPARTMENT AND SECURITY



SALLY YATES 

US DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL

An Obama administration appointee, Yates became a household name in January when she was fired, ostensibly, for refusing to implement the first iteration of Trump’s ban on travelers from a number of Muslim-majority countries. Just three days beforehand, however, she had met with White House counsel Don McGahn to warn about then-national security adviser Michael Flynn’s interactions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, raising questions about the motive behind her firing.

Katie Walsh left the White House in March for the private sector.  The deputy White House chief of staff didn’t even survive until the end of March. Katie Walsh, who had been Reince Priebus’s deputy at the Republican National Committee, abruptly left her West Wing post the week after the collapse of the president’s health-care plan in the House. 

As part of the probe into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump administration, then-acting Attorney General Yates met with White House counsel to inform them that then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn wasn’t telling the truth about his interactions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and, as a result, represented a blackmail risk.


PATRICK KENNEDY

UNDERSECRETARY - STATE DEPARTMENT

The State Department's undersecretary for management was one of the first departures in what become an exodus of State Department staff who resigned ahead of Trump's inauguration. In late January, the "entire senior level of management officials resigned," reported the Washington Post. Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond and Ambassador Gentry O. Smith, director of the Office of Foreign Missions, also left with Kennedy.


RUMANA AHMED -  NSA 

HIJAB-WEARING MUSLIM 

Lasted just eight days under President Trump. Rumana Ahmed joined the National Security Council under Barack Obama but decided to stay on under Trump despite deep misgivings about the incoming Administration. In an op-ed published by The Atlantic,  Ahmed said she noticed the different atmosphere from day one, when "the new staff looked at me with a cold surprise" and "the diverse White House I had worked in became a monochromatic and male bastion."

After seven more “ appalling” days, Ahmed decided drew a line over Trump's attempt to introduce a travel ban targeting citizens of several Muslim-majority countries. “ hen Trump issued a ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries and all Syrian refugees," Ahmed wrote, "I knew I could no longer stay and work for an administration that saw me and people like me not as fellow citizens, but as a threat."

“Like most of my fellow American Muslims, I spent much of 2016 watching with consternation as Donald Trump vilified our community,” she wrote. “Despite this––or because of it––I thought I should try to stay on the NSC staff during the Trump Administration, in order to give the new president and his aides a more nuanced view of Islam, and of America’s Muslim citizens. I lasted eight days.”

“My job there was to promote and protect the best of what my country stands for. I am a hijab-wearing Muslim woman––I was the only Hijabi in the West Wing––and the Obama administration always made me feel welcome and included,” she said.

MICHAEL ANTON  (TRUMPY FLUNKY)  INTERVENES:
MS. Ahmed says her time in the White House working for Trump Was ‘Strange, Appalling & Disturbing’. She was asked by Michael Anton, Trump’s senior National Security Council communications advisor, why she was leaving:  I told him I had to leave because it was an insult walking into this country’s most historic building every day under an administration that is working against and vilifying everything I stand for as an American and as a Muslim. 

I told him that the administration was attacking the basic tenets of democracy. I told him that I hoped that they and those in Congress were prepared to take responsibility for all the consequences that would attend their decisions.

He looked at me and said nothing.  It was only later that I learned he authored an essay under a pseudonym, extolling the virtues of authoritarianism and attacking diversity as a ‘weakness,’ and Islam as ‘incompatible with the modern West.’  My whole life and everything I have learned proves that facile statement wrong.

“Cautiously optimistic, and feeling a responsibility to try to help them continue our work and be heard, I decided that Trump’s NSC could benefit from a colored, female, hijab-wearing, American Muslim patriot,” she wrote.  

Ahmed said when she walked into the White House on January 23, “Rather than the excitement I encountered when I first came to the White House under Obama, the new staff looked at me with a cold surprise. The diverse White House I had worked in became a monochromatic and male bastion.”

She said that the White House under Trump has become a “chaotic attempt at authoritarianism––legally questionable executive orders, accusations of the press being ‘fake,’ peddling countless lies as ‘alternative facts,’ and assertions by White House surrogates that the president’s national security authority would ‘not be questioned.'”


EDWARD PRICE

CIA ANALYST 

Had his disagreements with presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama — but said that he didn't think that party politics would ever compel him to leave his job. "We’re taught to tune out politics," Price wrote in the Washington Post, “but this administration has flipped that dynamic on its head: The politicians are the ones tuning out the intelligence professionals.”

Price said he was mystified by the way Trump had "cast doubt" during his campaign on the intelligence community's conclusion that Russia was behind the hacking and release of emails related to the election. Trump's actions since taking office, Price wrote, "have been even more disturbing." Price said he believes that the CIA will weather the storm, but in the meantime intelligence professionals will have to work from behind “a political moat" isolating the White House from unwelcome voices.


JAMES RUNCIE

EDUCATION DEPT FINANCIAL 

Student financial aid office until May, when he stepped down over a dispute with Trump's Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Runcie was ordered by DeVos to testify before the House Oversight Committee on rising improper payment rates for federal student aid programs — for which he said he had “not heard a single compelling reason" for. 

Runcie wrote in a memo that he felt "encumbered from exercising my authorities to properly lead" and was "incredibly concerned" about management issues. He concluded that the department’s "alignment on governance and mission between operational leaders and political ones [...] no longer exists."


ELON MUSK

GAVE UP ON TRUMP 

Musk courted considerable controversy when he agreed to join Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum as an advisor and then participated in the President's Manufacturing Jobs Initiative. As a strident advocate for the environment and renewable energy, the CEO of the world’s leading electric vehicle manufacturer was accused of hypocrisy. 

Musk argued that despite their disagreements, engaging with Trump was more positive than shutting him out, and that he could affect change from the inside. The President’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement on climate change, however, was a step too far for Musk, who said on Twitter shortly after Trump’s announcement that he was quitting the advisory council.


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