While visiting the agency’s Foggy Bottom headquarters on Wednesday, Tillerson witnessed his entire senior level management team walk out on him, according to a bombshell new report from The Washington Post.
Late Wednesday afternoon, the undersecretary for management, Patrick Kennedy, unexpectedly stepped down after nine years in his role. Also departing were Joyce Anne Barr, assistant secretary of state for administration; Michele Bond, assistant secretary of state for consular affairs; and Ambassador Gentry O. Smith, director of the Office of Foreign Missions.
“Patrick Kennedy will resign as under secretary for management on January 27, and retire from the Department of State on January 31,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told the Washington Examiner on Wednesday.
“It’s the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember, and that’s incredibly difficult to replicate,” David Wade, who served as State Department chief of staff under former secretary of state John Kerry, told the Post. The four officials, who have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations, were charged with managing the State Department and overseeing its staff and diplomatic posts abroad.
CNN has updated their reporting on this…
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) January 26, 2017
“Any implication that that these four people quit is wrong,” one senior State Department official said. “These people are loyal to the secretary, the President and to the State Department. There is just not any attempt here to dis the President. People are not quitting and running away in disgust. This is the White House cleaning house.”