After facing criticism from the State Department for spending too much time trying to defend President Barack Obama to Catholics, Douglas Kmiec says he will resign from his position as the ambassador to Malta.
Kmiec, the Pepperdine University law professor who become one of the leading apologists for electing pro-abortion President Barack Obama, won an ambassadorship from the president to Malta but he came under fire earlier this month in a report claiming he neglected his duties. The report said Kmiec was told he needs to spend less time on personal writings and more time on the duties of the U.S. embassy and, after promising he would get his act together, Kmiec was admonished a second time.
Yesterday, Kmiec wrote Obama and said he would resign in August.
“I doubt very much whether one could ever spend too much time on this subject,” Kmiec wrote Obama in his resignation letter, according to an AP report.
Kmiec wrote to Obama: “The OIG… expressed dissatisfaction with the extent of time… that I have devoted to promoting what I know you believe in most strongly – namely personal faith and greater mutual respect… I doubt very much whether one could ever spend too much time on this subject… With the highest respect for your leadership, and with some understanding of the difficulty and complexity of the challenges that you and Secretary (of State Hilary) Clinton face each day, I ask that you accept my resignation effective on the feast of the Assumption, 2011.”
Kmiec told the Times of Malta, “Over the last days since the report came out, I have prayed that there might be some way short of having the president affirm my credentials personally to remove this doubt in my mind,” and he insisted in the interview that no one from the Obama administration had pressured him to resign.
In July, 2009 Obama nominated Kmiec as the ambassador to the Catholic country that is a small Mediterranean island just south of Italy. But the State Department’s Office of Inspector General released an inspection report that faulted Kmiec for spending too much time on “non-official” writings and speeches.
The report said Kmiec’s “unconventional approach to his role as ambassador has created friction with principal officials in Washington, especially over his reluctance to accept their guidance and instructions. Based on a belief that he was given a special mandate to promote President Obama’s interfaith initiatives, he has devoted considerable time to writing articles for publication in the United States as well as in Malta, and to presenting his views on subjects outside the [scope of his office].”
“His approach has required Department principals, as well as some embassy staff, to spend an inordinate amount of time reviewing his writings, speeches, and other initiatives. His official schedule has been uncharacteristically light for an ambassador at a post of this size, and on average he spends several hours of each work day in the residence, much of which appears to be devoted to his nonofficial writings. At the same time, he has not focused sufficiently on key management issues within the embassy,” it continues.
Obama officials have apparently addressed the issue with Kmiec, who appears to have promised to do more to mind his diplomatic post and to spend less time defending Obama to Catholics — but he appears to have reneged on the promise.
“The Ambassador advised the inspection team that he intended to discontinue his outside writings and focus on matters that directly pertain to the embassy,” the report indicates. “Within weeks of the team’s departure, however, he resumed drafting public essays that addressed subjects outside his purview as Ambassador to Malta and detracted from his core responsibilities. These activities also detracted from the core responsibilities of embassy staff members who devoted time and effort to reviewing and editing the ambassador’s drafts and seeking approvals occasionally after the writings had been submitted for publication from Department officials.”
Jack Smith of the Catholic Key blog responded to the new report and to an Associated Press story covering it.
AP claims the report singles out Kmiec for criticism for “spending too much time writing on subjects such as abortion and his Catholic beliefs to the detriment of American diplomacy” and it adds, “In the Times of Malta, he challenged the president on the question of abortion.”
Smith takes issue with the AP story, saying, “Nowhere does the report mention Kmiec’s views on abortion or his Catholic beliefs. Kmiec did not challenge the president on abortion in the Times of Malta. To the contrary, the quote is from an article titled ‘Catholic, pro-life, pro-Obama,’ wherein Kmiec rehearses his highly stylized account of his interactions with the president on the subject of abortion. It was not presented as a challenge to the president, but rather as an argument for pro-life Catholics to support a pro-choice president.”
“The AP gives the impression that Kmiec is being rebuked for a forthright presentation of his ‘pro-life’ views, when he was doing nothing of the sort. I don’t think the president is at all upset with the way Ambassador Kmiec has presented his views on abortion; it’s why Kmiec got the appointment in the first place,” Smith goes on to say.
Smith says he wonders who is behind the State Department report and believes it could be an honest diplomat upset that Kmiec is spending time pumping up a pro-abortion president instead of building the relationship between the United States and another nation.