The warning signs are already there, current and former diplomats say. Trump’s daughter Ivanka sat in on his meeting with the Japanese prime minister. One of Trump’s sons is reported to have discussed how to resolve the Syrian war with pro-Russia figures. And the incoming president even suggested that his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, could mediate between Israel and the Palestinians.
Diplomats are nervous that if Trump uses his children and other relatives as informal ambassadors, they could, intentionally or not, upend the carefully structured efforts of the Foreign Service. They worry other nations could take advantage of Trump relatives to circumvent trained U.S. diplomats. They also suspect that even if Trump steps away from his business, his children’s extensive corporate dealings could still confuse U.S. foreign policy abroad.
Perhaps more than anything at this early stage, State Department employees are seriously annoyed by the optics.
“It makes us look like we’re some sort of banana republic,” one official told POLITICO. “This is not the way that grown-up nations do things.”