Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., had to hurdle career bureaucrats at the State Department — who were attempting to lock in Obama’s Cuba policy — in order to reverse some of the policies of the last administration.
Politico reports that Rubio went directly to the president to warn him that career staff at the State Department would attempt to sabotage his agenda on Cuba policy.
On the campaign trail, Trump promised to roll back some of Obama’s Cuba initiatives that would only strengthen the Castro regime that rules Havana with an iron fist.
During his meeting with the president in early May, Rubio reportedly warned:
“What you’ve committed to do on Cuba, what you want to do on Cuba, is never going to come from career staff. It’s going to have to come from the top down. You’re going to have to tell them what to do.”
“The career service people, in the State Department and Treasury and in other places, are not in favor of changing this policy,” he added.
While Trump is actually keeping most of Obama’s Cuba policy changes, his messaging serves as a direct contrast with the last president’s approach. In a speech in Miami last week, the president berated the Cuban regime for its authoritarian policies and human rights violations.
The State Department — which saw over 99 percent of campaign contributions go to Trump’s electoral opponent in Hillary Clinton — is not only embedded wholly with leftists (who are almost impossible to fire, due to an unreformed civil service), but with individuals that appear to be loyal to the past president.
This is more apparent than ever when examining Iran and Israel policy. Obama holdovers continue to dominate the high-ranking posts at State.
Current State Dep. officials tasked with Iran include multiple architects of the Iran nuclear deal, a man who sold the deal under false pretenses, a woman who used to lobby for a pro-regime organization, and an official who takes to Twitter to publicly insult the president. On Israel, a current high-ranking official reportedly helped president Obama interfere in the Israeli election in an effort to knock out Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
But the buck ultimately stops at the top. And President Trump’s appointment of liberal Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state has likely empowered fellow leftists in the State Department to thwart new policy initiatives.
As the president calls for the reversal of Obama-era policies, Tillerson has publicly sent messages that appear to clash with Trump’s proposals.
These glaring differences are seen on U.S. policy concerning support for Israel (Tillerson has pushed a more pro-Palestinian line), Qatar’s terror financing (Tillerson wants to hold off on punishing Doha), and on the Paris Climate accord, which the secretary of state said he opposed Trump leaving.
Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.
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