WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
, issued the following statement after President Trump on Sunday tried to blame Senate Democrats via tweets for his Administration’s failure to nominate and fill critical Senate-confirmed positions to the State Department and USAID.

“This Administration has routinely denigrated the responsibilities of our diplomatic and development corps and deemed them low priorities for American foreign policy. Rather than blaming others, the president should examine his record.

“Of 163 total Senate-confirmed positions to the State Department and USAID, the Trump Administration has failed to fulfill its duties to nominate individuals for 65 of those positions. This problem is further compounded by the poor management, dangerous political guidance and arbitrary hiring freeze at the State Department which has prompted an alarming exodus of seasoned diplomats from the government, weakening our ability to promote our interests. If we do not have voices present to speak, no nation can listen to us, and America’s diplomatic and development institutions and critical personnel cannot become an afterthought to the Trump Administration.

“We cannot continue to allow the pulpits where we preach American values to remain vacant. President Trump must understand American leadership can only occur if American leaders are present on the international stage. Prioritizing diplomatic nominations only when there are sudden crises is not a strategy and not in the national security interest of the United States.”