A top State Department official who worked closely with the White House is reportedly headed out the door amid allegations of workplace misconduct.
NBC News reported that chief of protocol Sean Lawler was told on Monday to resign, and in the meantime has been suspended indefinitely pending an investigation into allegations that he mistreated staffers.
Laying down the law
As protocol chief, Lawler “assists the president on overseas trips, and when foreign leaders visit the White House, by making introductions and briefing the president on protocol,” Bloomberg reported.
The high-level state department position is confirmed by the Senate.
A key player in diplomatic relations, Lawler was scheduled to accompany President Donald Trump on his trip to Japan Friday for the G-20 economic summit, but is now expected to resign ahead of a probe by the inspector general into allegations that he was intimidating toward staffers and even carried a whip around the office.
The soon-to-be-former protocol chief has also been accused of routinely raising his voice and using profanity.
It remains unclear if and when Lawler plans to formally resign. In the meantime, his position next to Trump at the G-20 summit will be filled by assistant chief of protocol Mary-Kate Fisher, who will now serve as acting protocol chief.
At long last
President Donald Trump reportedly wasn’t a huge fan of Lawler, “and repeatedly asked why he still worked at the White House,” according to Bloomberg, though the president nominated Lawler himself for the role in September 2017.
Lawler held the role of protocol chief for 18 months, but he has worked for the government for nearly three decades.
“He’s a U.S. Navy veteran who has served in diplomatic roles at the White House National Security Council and U.S. Cyber Command in Maryland,” Bloomberg reported.
Both Lawler and the White House declined to comment on the matter.
A spokesperson for the State Department would not confirm or deny the investigation.