Ex-Ukraine ambassador: State Department leaders lack vision

WASHINGTON (AP) — The career U.S. diplomat who was ousted from her post in Ukraine by President Donald Trump, then was criticized by him as she testified at his impeachment hearings, warned that the State Department is facing a crisis with senior leaders who lack “vision.”

Marie Yovanovitch, accepting an award at Georgetown University on Wednesday, portrayed the department as “in trouble” and under threat even as she sought to encourage her audience of mostly students not to give up on diplomacy as a career.

Yovanovitch urged students to follow in her footsteps because the U.S. “needs diplomats that are ready and capable.”

“This country needs a robust foreign policy,” Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, said as she accepted the Trainor Award for excellence in diplomacy from the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University.

But she noted that the State Department is being “hollowed out” under Trump and that the art of diplomacy has become less of a priority under his administration.

“Right now, the State Department is in trouble,” Yovanovitch said in accepting the award. “Senior leaders lack policy vision, moral clarity and leadership.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been criticized by former diplomats and others for not coming to the defense of Yovanovitch, a charge he has denied.

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