US diplomats decry Trump for Capitol riot

Washington: In a highly unusual move, American diplomats drafted two cables condemning President Trump’s incitement of the deadly assault on the Capitol.

Using what is known as the State Department’s “dissent channel,” the career foreign service officers said they fear last Wednesday’s siege may badly undermine U.S. credibility to promote and defend democratic values abroad.

“Failing to publicly hold the president to account would further damage our democracy and our ability to effectively accomplish our foreign policy goals abroad,” according to the second of the two cables, which were circulated among diplomats late last week and then sent to State Department leadership.

American diplomats have long complained that the Trump administration ignored and diminished their role and expertise. The dissent channel is normally used to oppose specific foreign policy decisions. The two most recent cables appear to be unprecedented in their scope and characterization of the president as a danger to the country.

The cables also reflect anger at the response to the riot by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a loyal Trump ally.

Pompeo has condemned the violence at the Capitol but pointedly not addressed the role Trump played in encouraging his supporters who stormed the building. Nor has Pompeo addressed the aftermath or acknowledged that American diplomats overseas may now face new difficulty in promoting democracy.

It was not immediately clear how many diplomats signed the cables, both of which were viewed by The Associated Press.

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