Apr 28, 2017

State Department could lose 2,300 jobs

Richard Drew / AP

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is considering cutting 2,300 jobs at the State Department, according to the AP — a three percent cut to the department's roughly 75,000 employees. This would also slash the number of new diplomats being hired and potentially include a State Department and USAID consolidation.

Why now: To adjust to Trump's proposed budget cuts to the State Department for the next fiscal year, which are more than a quarter of its current allowance.

Why it matters: Laying people off certainly doesn't fit into Trump's rhetoric about creating jobs, and just yesterday the WH blamed the State Department for not recommending people to fill nearly every undersecretary and assistant secretary position, as well as one-third of ambassadorships, at the department.

Senators are taking note: A group of 43 senators from both sides of the aisle sent a letter to appropriators on the Hill this week, warning cuts in this area would be "shortsighted, counterproductive and even dangerous."

What's next: Tillerson will outline the plan to staffers next week.

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What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

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Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.