Report: Trump Fired U.S. Ambassador to Jordan at Request of King Abdullah

The Iran nuclear deal was one of the points of contention between Ambassador Alice Wells and the king

Alice Wells at a public appearance in Sri Lanka, Aug. 30, 2017.
Alice Wells, right, the former U.S. ambassador to Jordan, at a public appearance in Colombo, Sri Lanka with the U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka, Atul Keshap, Aug. 30, 2017. Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP

The Obama administration's ambassador to Jordan, Alice Wells, was forced out by incoming President Donald Trump at the request of Jordan's King Abdullah II, the Foreign Policy website reported Thursday.

The Jordanian monarch had also complained to the Obama administration about Wells, a career diplomat, Foreign Policy said, but the U.S. administration at the time rebuffed Jordan's request that she be removed.

"Several former and current diplomats told Foreign Policy that the Jordanian king had a tense relationship with Wells, mainly because he strongly objected to the Obama administration’s pursuit of a nuclear agreement with Tehran," Foreign Policy reported. "King Abdullah, like other leaders in the region, had deep misgivings about any diplomatic overtures that could strengthen the hand of Shiite-ruled Iran." Abdullah even tried to exclude Wells from meetings with visiting American generals, according to former officials quoted in the Foreign Policy story.

Wells, who has been a foreign service officer for 28 years and  took up the ambassador's post in Amman in 2014, stepped down in March, several months before the end of her three-year term, but she was then named acting assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs.

Despite the sense that the Western-educated Jordanian monarch is relatively liberal on social issues compared to counterparts elsewhere in the Arab world, Abdullah "nevertheless seemed to chafe at having to deal with a female ambassador, as well as a female deputy at the embassy in Amman," Foreign Policy reported, citing former diplomats.

“My guess is that it was a simple thing for Trump. The king asked and he can say yes. As far as he was concerned, this was Obama’s ambassador,” one former senior official told Foreign Policy. “He’s obviously showed no hesitancy in doing the opposite of whatever Obama did.”