On Tuesday, the network morning shows were delighted by the news that diplomat David Rank had resigned from his post as Acting U.S. Ambassador to China over President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate deal.
Rank was due to be replaced by former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad as US ambassador after his confirmation in May.
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David Rank was supposed to deliver formal notification of the US intention to leave the pact, but he reportedly said that as, quote, "a parent, patriot, and a Christian", he could not in good conscience play a roll in implementing Mr. Trump's decision. "We appreciate his years of dedicated service to the State Department", US embassy spokesperson Mary Beth Polley told AFP.
Rank, citing the Paris climate agreement, announced the resignation during a town hall meeting on Monday with embassy employees. That's partly a sign of the times - the age of Twitter diplomacy and personal social media - but also a sign of growing dissent in the ranks. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.
Before becoming president, Mr Trump had said climate change was a hoax created by China to undermine USA manufacturing. Most senior jobs in the department, down to the assistant secretary level, remain unfilled, and a new wave of departures was announced internally last week, including Arnold Chacon, who oversees human resources at the department, and executive secretary Joseph Macmanus, who is leaving to become a special adviser.
On NBC's Today, co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed to viewers: "There is some more fallout this morning over President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement".
The number two official at the USA embassy in Beijing, a 27-year veteran of the foreign service, has resigned.
The acceptance of Chacon's resignation was first reported by the DiploPundit website.
Smith, who continues to serve in Qatar, could not be reached for comment.
"It's an extraordinarily unusual situation for the Foreign Service", said R. Nicholas Burns, who served as undersecretary of state for political affairs in the George W. Bush administration, traditionally the top-ranking position for career diplomats.