A top State Department official was fired after complaints about her became too loud for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to ignore, according to a new report.
Politico, quoting unnamed sources, reported that Kiron Skinner was fired for the way she treated her staff.
Politico said its sources spoke of actions that included “yelling in public spaces and using homophobic language. She retaliated against employees by kicking them out of their offices and even alleged that some people were having affairs.”
Skinner, 58, was director of policy planning until she was let go almost a year after her appointment.
The Washington Examiner reported that her management style led to her downfall, citing a source whose name was not used.
“She was hurting the mission of that particular division, and of the department, and so she had to be let go,” the source said.
“This all had to do with her behavior as a manager, and how she got along with members of a team, and things she did — to her own subordinates — which would get you fired from almost any job.”
Other sources defended Skinner.
“It’s laughable that unnamed sources would claim that she was abusive to staff,” an unnamed source and former Trump administration official told the Examiner.
“Anyone who had worked with her knows that she’s a calm and deliberate thinker. Moreover, it’s offensive that anyone would make an ‘angry black woman’ argument to push her out.”
But another source who the Examiner called a current State Department official said Skinner did not fit the demands of the job.
“She just let the pressure and paranoia and other things get to her,” the source told the Examiner.
“She was so afraid of what people would say and what would leak out that she tried to restrict all communication both within and beyond the organization. And that’s just not State Department culture.”
The New York Times reported Skinner had critics and defenders, but also noted the policy context of her time at the State Department.
In April, Skinner, who was developing a long-term policy to address China, told a conference that America’s rivalry with China “is a fight with a really different civilization and a different ideology, and the United States hasn’t had that before. The Soviet Union and that competition, in a way, it was a fight within the Western family.”
“It’s the first time that we will have a great power competitor that is not Caucasian,” she said then.
She also said the issue of human rights was not one that could be brought to bear against China.
“It was a really important Western concept that opened the door really to undermine the Soviet Union, a totalitarian state, on human rights principles,” she said. “That’s not really possible with China.”
At the time, she called China “a more fundamental long-term threat” than the Soviet Union, the Examiner reported.
“In China, we have an economic competitor, we have an ideological competitor, one that really does seek a global reach that many of us didn’t expect a couple of decades ago,” she said.
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