Dead Drop: November 22

MIKE POMPEO’S VERY BAD NO GOOD WEEK: To say Mike Pompeo is taking a little heat for opting to not defend career State Department officials embroiled in the Ukraine-gate mess would be something of an understatement.  Asked at a press briefing if he agreed with President Trump’s tweet attacking Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, Pompeo said he would “defer to the White House about particular statements and the like. I don’t have anything else to say about the Democrats’ impeachment proceedings. New York Time columnist Tom Friedman authored a blistering piece calling Pompeo “last in his class at West Point in integrity.” Foggy Bottom-focused blog Diplopundit posted a brief item titled: “Swagger Mike’s Spine Still Missing, If Found Please Call @StateDept.”

THE BEST AMBASSADORS MONEY CAN BUY: With career civil servants like Ambassadors Marie Yovanovitch and Bill Taylor so much in the news, CBS found a different kind of presidential envoy.  San Diego real estate developer “Papa Doug” Manchester donated $1 million to President Trump’s inauguration and shortly thereafter was nominated to be the U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas.  But the nomination stalled for two-and-a-half years and had not been confirmed. While waiting, Manchester donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to disaster relief to the Bahamas after it was devastated by a hurricane. Shortly thereafter Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel hit him up for a $500,000 donation. Manchester replied that he was not supposed to make political contributions while awaiting confirmation but that his wife would donate $100K and assuming he would get confirmed his family would respond.  Unfortunately, Manchester copied Senate Foreign Relations Committee members on his response – making the quid pro quo pretty explicit. Last week, the President withdrew Manchester’s nomination for the Bahamas post. Former career Ambassador Douglas Jett, posted a piece in the euphoniously titled giving a breakdown of the career vs. political nominees for ambassador over the last eight administrations. Only 26% of President Carter’s ambassadorial nominees were political (he was lowest), President’s Ford and Reagan were at 38%. In the current administration, 45% of the nominees have been political – an all-time high.

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