WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of policy planning at the State Department, Kiron Skinner, was fired on Thursday after nearly a year in the job, according to two sources familiar with the decision.
The State Department declined to comment. Skinner did not respond to repeated emails requesting comment.
The sources said Skinner, one of the highest-ranking African-American officials in the State Department, was told on Thursday she was being dismissed effective immediately.
Skinner, a foreign policy scholar, was hired by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last year as a senior advisor and director of a unit responsible for crafting guidance on foreign policy.
From the outset, she tried to articulate a “Trump Doctrine” to explain President Donald Trump’s vision of America’s place in the world.
Skinner triggered a huge reaction in Chinese media and came under fire from Asian-American rights groups in early May after she described the conflict with China as a “fight with a different civilization” and used racialized language to describe the conflict.
“In China, we have an economic competitor, we have an ideological competitor – one that really does seek a kind of global reach that many of us didn’t expect a couple of decades ago,” Skinner told a forum hosted by the New America Foundation and Arizona State University in Washington.
“And I think it’s also striking that it’s the first time that we will have a great power competitor that is not Caucasian.”
A former director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University and a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Skinner also worked for former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
She succeeded Brian Hook, who became U.S. envoy for Iran.
Reporting by Jonathan Landay, Lesley Wroughton and Andrea Shalal; Editing by Richard Chang