The Vino Vixen’s purge
This is a form of Trumpism that takes McCarthyism to a new level. Even Joseph McCarthy wanted to purge the State Department of people he deemed traitorous to the country, not himself.
A senior advisor to the State Department appointed just two months ago has been quietly vetting career diplomats and American employees of international institutions to determine whether they are loyal to President Donald Trump and his political agenda, according to nearly a dozen current and former U.S. officials.
Mari Stull, a former food and beverage lobbyist-turned-wine blogger under the name “Vino Vixen,” has reviewed the social media pages of State Department staffers for signs of ideological deviation. She has researched the names of government officials to determine whether they signed off on Obama-era policies — though signing off does not mean officials personally endorsed them but merely cleared them through the bureaucratic chain. And she has inquired about Americans employed by international agencies, including the World Health Organization and the United Nations, asking their colleagues when they were hired and by whom, according the officials.
“She is actively making lists and gathering intel,” said one of the sources, a senior diplomat. Stull was named in April as a senior advisor to the State Department’s Bureau of International Organization Affairs, which manages U.S. diplomatic relations with the United Nations and other international institutions.
Her probing, along with a highly secretive management style, has become so uncomfortable that at least three senior officials are poised to leave the bureau, according to the sources. Officials there have warned some Americans employed by the U.N. to sidestep traditional meet-and-greet sessions with the department’s upper management to avoid drawing attention to themselves.
“She is gunning for American citizens in the U.N. to see if they are toeing the line,” the diplomatic source added.
Stull seems to have the support of her boss, Kevin Moley, who was appointed by the White House in January to head the bureau with the title of assistant secretary of state for international organizational affairs.
Stull cheered his appointment on Twitter at the time, proclaiming the “Global swamp will be drained.”
But over time, she has emerged as the most dominant force in the department. One diplomat said she seemed to outrank Moley in influence.
It remains unclear whether Stull’s activities have the backing of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and key policymakers in the White House, or whether she has taken the initiative on her own. But her brief tenure has alarmed colleagues at the State Department.
Three deputy assistant secretaries of state in the bureau, Molly Phee, the bureau’s principal deputy, Erin Barclay, and Nerissa Cook, are said to be on the way out — though some may simply move to other bureaus at State.
“Everyone is looking to bail,” said one State Department official.
But sure, this is fine.
You may have noticed that the GOP primaries are turning on loyalty to Trump as well. Senator Bob Corker said today that it’s becoming “cultish.”
Ya think? Some of us have been saying this since we watched the Trump rallies and the Republican convention in 2016 and saw the slavering freak show — of the crowd.
(Don’t mention this, though. Pretend that it’s all about him and his voters are just wonderful folks who are upset about their economic situation. They are very sensitive.)