President Donald Trump forced out the U.S. ambassador to Jordan due to complaints from the nation's king, despite having followed proper protocol.
Alice Wells was appointed by President Barack Obama, who refused several requests from King Abdullah II for her removal, in July 2014. Her three-year term was due to end in June or July, but she left her post in March.
Multiple veteran diplomats, including a recently retired U.S. ambassador, told Foreign Policy that it's highly unusual for a head of state to complain about a particular ambassador, and even more unusual for the ambassador's government to remove them at another government's request.
"It may not be unprecedented, but it's very unusual," said the unnamed recently retired ambassador.
"The king has not liked Alice from the beginning," a recently retired senior diplomat also told FP. "He tried to get Obama to fire her. He refused."
A former Obama administration official added that Wells "was always looked upon as an experienced diplomat who had deep experience in the region, who was faithfully committed to carrying out the policy of the United States. The ambassador was always looked upon with great respect, and I never heard any internal doubts about her whatsoever."
The diplomats added that the king, although Western-educated and thought of as socially liberal, "seemed to chafe" at working with a female ambassador.
"My guess is that it was a simple thing for Trump. The king asked and he can say yes. As far as he was concerned, this was Obama's ambassador," said a former senior official who'd worked in Republican and Democratic administrations. "He's obviously shown no hesitancy in doing the opposite of whatever Obama did."
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