The Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University gave Yovanovitch the Trainor Award during a ceremony on Wednesday. Every year, the Trainor Award is given to an “outstanding American or foreigner for distinction in the conduct of diplomacy,” according to the Institute.
Yovanovitch warned about the leadership within the State Department as she received the award at a university auditorium. It was her first public appearance since her hearing with lawmakers during the House impeachment inquiry in November.
“Right now, the State Department is in trouble,” Yovanovitch said during the award ceremony, The New York Times reported. “Senior leaders lack policy vision, moral clarity and leadership.”
Trump publicly attacked Yovanovitch in November as she testified before the House Intelligence Committee and detailed how she felt threatened by the president and targeted in a smear campaign despite her long tenure as a diplomat.
Yovanovitch, who was recalled from her ambassadorship in May, appeared astonished when Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) read Trump’s live tweets, which disparaged her diplomatic career, to her during the hearing.
She said she found the president’s behavior “very intimidating.”
Trump had previously insulted Yovanovitch during his infamous July 25 call with the Ukrainian president ― which prompted a whistleblower report and eventual impeachment proceedings ― saying that she was “bad news’ and was “going to go through some things.”
At Georgetown on Wednesday, Yovanovitch said that her experience with Trump gave her a new perspective on life.
“When you ‘go through some things’… you have to dig deep a little bit. So I’ve tried to be grateful for the silver linings,” she said, noting that she received immense support from family and friends.
Yovanovitch has since retired from career in diplomacy, which spanned 33 years year under six U.S. presidents.
She wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post last week urging Americans to stand up to the government in defense of democracy.
“I have seen dictatorships around the world, where blind obedience is the norm and truth-tellers are threatened with punishment or death,” she wrote. “We must not allow the United States to become a country where standing up to our government is a dangerous act.”
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