Following in the footsteps of the denied request for the name of government employees who worked on projects related to climate change, the transition team for President Elect Donald Trump has made another request that has a lot of people alarmed. This time, according to a report from the Washington Post, the transition team asked the State Department to send them everything that they have about “gender-related staffing, programming, and funding.” Within several hours of getting the request, each office in the State Department had to send the transition team everything they’re doing to “promote gender equality, such as ending gender-based violence, promoting women’s participation in economic and political spheres, entrepreneurship, etc.”
While the request did not specifically ask for names, it might has well have, by saying those writing the reports “should note positions whose primary functions are to promote such issues.” Three State Department officials confirmed that the request was both sent and fulfilled, with one saying that the understanding that they had to do it because it didn’t directly ask for names. “It’s not clear to us what the intent is behind this request,” the same official told the Post. “The Trump team could be looking to advance gender issues and make it a priority — or you could look at it as a witch hunt.”
One of the other two sources added that “these types of requests send a cold chill through the Department and career diplomats dedicated to their work and service to the country. It’s devastating to morale.”
Six days earlier, the House Foreign Affairs Committee Democrats sent a letter to exiting Secretary of State John Kerry asking that, like with the climate change request State doesn’t comply with requests perceived as being fodder for “enemies lists and political witch hunts.” It looks like the message got through, but because of the precise wording of the latest request, those at State felt they had no choice but to comply.
[Photo: Gage Skidmore at Wikimedia Commons]
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