US Ambassador to Qatar Raises Eyebrows With Tweet Seemingly Critical of Trump

By Patrick Goodenough | May 11, 2017 | 4:11 AM EDT

Ambassador Dana Shell Smith presents her credentials to the emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, in Sept. 2014. (Photo: Dana Shell Smith/Twitter)

( – The U.S. ambassador to Qatar drew strong reactions on Twitter after appearing to criticize President Trump on the social media network hours after the president fired FBI Director James Comey.

“Increasingly difficult to wake up overseas to news from home, knowing I will spend today explaining our democracy and institutions,” tweeted Dana Shell Smith, a career foreign service office nominated to the Doha post by President Obama three years ago.

She did not elaborate, but the tweet drew considerable attention, receiving 1,400 replies, more than 5,000 “likes,” and being retweeted more than 2,200 times.


While many praised her sentiment, other responses were sharply critical, suggesting that Smith do her job and quit complaining – or simply quit. A number thought she should be fired.

Her particular posting did not escape critics’ attention, and many pointed out Qatar’s record on human rights, proposing that instead of explaining U.S. democracy and institutions she ask the Qataris about gender inequality, the treatment of homosexuals, or the death penalty for extramarital sex.

Some also suggested that Smith pay more attention to Qatar’s record on funding radical Sunni groups in Syria and the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas.

In a second message sent early Thursday morning Doha time – evidently in response to the criticism – Smith tweeted, “Diplomats explain & defend our political system. Can be tough when partisan acrimony so high, but there is still no greater country. #USA”

Prior to her ambassadorial post in Qatar, Smith was principal deputy assistant secretary of public affairs. Her earlier career including more junior positions at U.S. embassies in Cairo, Tel Aviv, Amman and the de-facto diplomatic mission in Taiwan. She also served as an Arabic spokesperson for the U.S. government’s regional media hub in Dubai.

Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow