Trump admin pushes affirmative action after Charlottesville

Sec. of State Rex Tillerson introduces racial quotas for ambassadorships in wake of Charlottesville violence.

David Rosenberg,

Rex Tillerson
Rex Tillerson

The State Department will pursue a policy of affirmative action for ambassadorships, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced Friday.

Speaking at a press conference, Tillerson declared that the State Department would take active steps to “increase diversity at the highest ranks”.

Among other policy changes, Tillerson said that the State Department would now employ a quota system when drawing up pools of candidates for open ambassadorships.

“The State Department must redouble our efforts to increase diversity at the highest ranks of the department, including at the ambassador-level. I have directed the relevant committees to adopt a new procedure. Every time we have an opening for an ambassador position, at least one of the candidates must be a minority candidate.”

At present, Tillerson said, the Department has a “great diversity gap”.

“We have to own this process. That doesn’t mean coming through town and dropping some pamphlets off at the recruiting office.”

The policy shift comes in response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12th, when white supremacists clashed with counter-demonstrators. The incident culminated in the killing of a 32-year-old woman at the hands of a white supremacist who rammed his car through a procession of counter-demonstrators.

Tillerson cited the white supremacist rally as an example of the bigotry he said the new steps at the State Department were meant to combat.

“We all know hate is not an American value.”

“We do honor, protect, and defend freedom of speech – First Amendment rights. It’s what sets us apart from every other government and regime in the world. But we do not honor, nor do we promote or accept hate speech in any form.”

“We, too, today should seek to bind up the wounds. We must pursue reconciliation, understanding and respect regardless of skin color, ethnicity or religious or political views."