One of America’s top ambassadors to China has just resigned. David H. Rank, the acting ambassador to China, said he decided to resign to protest President Trump’s decision to leave the Paris climate accord.
Rank recently held a town meeting with numerous employees from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Apparently, Rank told his colleagues that he couldn’t travel to Beijing again to formally announce America’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. Rank went on to say that as a “parent, a patriot and a Christian” he would not show his support for a decision he believes will be detrimental to the global environment.
Many people who worked closely with Rank knew of his strong support for environmental issues. Indeed, almost everyone hired onto President Obama’s team had climate change as a major priority.
It has taken the Trump administration quite a long time to appoint new ambassadors, which is why Rank has been serving as acting ambassador for so long. Only last month did the Trump administration finalize its decision to appoint Terry Branstad (R) to the position. Branstad most recently served as the former governor of Iowa.
David Rank has well over 27 years of work experience in the Foreign Service. In addition to Mandarin Chinese, Rank can speak fluent Greek, French, and Dari. Before working in China, Rank served in the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.
Friends of Rank said this news came as a bit of a shock. One of Rank’s closest colleagues, Dan Feldman, told reporters that Rank never espoused any personal political opinions. Feldman, who worked with Rank as a special representative in Afghanistan, said that Rank was only ever concerned with the wellbeing of the American people.
In Rank’s absence, Jonathan Fritz will become the new charge d’affaires until Branstad takes over. Branstad is still in intensive training for his diplomatic position.
Rank’s resignation is yet another sharp criticism of President Trump’s decision to leave the Paris climate agreement last week. Many world leaders have denounced President Trump for putting the interests of America above the wellbeing of the planet.
Trump has also been criticized by another ambassador in recent days for his Tweets against London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan. In the wake of the London terror attacks, President Trump tweeted “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack, and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’” After hearing about this comment, Lewis Lukens, the acting ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Britain, said Mayor Khan showed “strong leadership” during the tragic attacks.
While Rank’s resignation was a bit shocking, those close to Rank said that he planned to retire by the end of the year. If Rank had stayed on, he would have probably moved out of his role in China and started working as an ambassador for a smaller country.
President Trump hasn’t made a public comment concerning Rank’s departure yet.