Presidential candidate Warren says she won’t give ambassador positions to donors

By Jarrett Renshaw

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren said on Friday she will significantly increase the U.S. diplomatic force and not give those jobs to wealthy donors.

Warren, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts, says Republican President Donald Trump has understaffed the U.S. State Department and offered plum jobs to big donors.

“That’s why I’m pledging to put America’s national interests ahead of campaign donations and end the corrupt practice of selling cushy diplomatic posts to wealthy donors — and I call on everyone running for President to do the same,” Warren said in her latest policy rollout.

U.S. diplomats working at the State Department represent the front lines of the nation’s engagement with the world, speaking over 70 languages and serving in over 270 posts across the globe, Warren said.

But the State Department has suffered significant budget cuts, even before Trump took office, that have hampered the country’s standing around the world.

The Pentagon is nearly 40 times bigger than the State Department, with more people working in military grocery stores than as Foreign Service officers, Warren said.

“That has real consequences. Too often, our underinvestment in diplomacy and development causes our leaders to default to military action, instead of treating it as a last resort,” Warren said.

Warren said she would double the size of the Foreign Service staff and open new posts in underserved areas to broaden U.S. presence. She will double the size of the Peace Corps in hopes of giving more young people the chance to see the value of diplomacy.

The new staff will also be more diverse than the current makeup, which is largely white and male, she said.

(Reporting By Jarrett Renshaw; editing by Jonathan Oatis)