WASHINGTON — Friends and family of 24 new civil servants cheered as they took the oath of office Friday, administered by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Tillerson noted that the members of the 148th class are going to work in 14 different bureaus around the U.S., and thanked them for choosing to work for the State Department.
Nonetheless, under Tillerson, the State Department has undergone major changes as part of President Trump’s agenda to cut government spending. Tillerson has floated cutting the department’s budget by around 30 percent, and initiatives such as the Diplomacy Fellows Program, which recruits diplomatic officers, or the Presidential Management Fellowship have been suspended.
Tillerson told the group that the State Department should “promote a very positive work environment by the way we treat one another, and that we treat one another with respect.”
Earlier in the day, he talked about focusing on sexual harassment in the workplace as well as compassion for those “in dangerous, difficult, and heart-wrenching places.”
At a meeting with Democratic and GOP congressional leaders Thursday, President Donald Trump apparently called for decreased immigration from Haiti and African nations, which he called “shithole countries.”
The swearing-in ceremony capped an orientation that all State Department civil servants must complete.