Ambassador James Jeffrey will replace Brett McGurk as the United States Special Envoy to Defeat ISIS, a State Department press release announced on Friday.
McGurk resigned in late 2018 over disagreements with President Donald Trump’s strategy to resign from Syria, leaving office on Dec. 31. He aired his grievances in a tweet.
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Today was my last day at the State Department. I wish my former civilian and military colleagues well as they work under extremely difficult circumstances to protect the interests of our great country. It was a privilege to serve alongside them.
— Brett McGurk (@brett_mcgurk) December 31, 2018
Trump responded on Twitter, calling McGurk a "grandstander."
Brett McGurk, who I do not know, was appointed by President Obama in 2015. Was supposed to leave in February but he just resigned prior to leaving. Grandstander? The Fake News is making such a big deal about this nothing event!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2018
Before taking over McGurk's role, Jeffrey previously served as the special representative for Syria engagement, beginning in August 2018. He will also continue in this former role, in addition to his new duties, according to State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino.
US Amb James Jeffery, the Special Representative for #Syria Engagement, will now also serve as the US Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat #ISIS, the role formerly held by @brett_mcgurk pic.twitter.com/bNuUi8FpkC
— Jeff Seldin (@jseldin) January 4, 2019
"Ambassador Jeffrey will lead and coordinate U.S. Department of State relations with the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and Department efforts to implement President Trump's announcement of a responsible U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria that is coordinated with our global Allies and partners consistent with U.s. goals for Syria and Iraq, including the enduring defeat of ISIS," Palladino said in the release.
Jeffrey has also performed duties as deputy national security advisor (2007–2008), United States ambassador to Turkey (2008–2010), and United States ambassador to Iraq (2010–2012). From 1969 to 1976, Jeffrey served as a U.S. Army infantry officer, in Germany and Vietnam.