A State Department official in charge of diplomatic protocol won’t be attending the G-20 summit in Japan this week amid a potential probe into him toting a whip around the office.
A source told Bloomberg that Lawler faces a potential inspector general investigation into his behavior, which includes “intimidating staff and carrying a whip in the office.” NBC reports that a number of personnel in Lawler’s office had “resigned in protest” due to his “management and behavior.”
Lawler declined to comment to Bloomberg and NBC. The White House and State Department did not respond to Bloomberg’s requests, and the State Department OIG had not yet responded to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment at the time of publication.
In his role, Lawler serves as President Trump’s liaison to the State Department diplomatic corps and handles diplomatic details—including where to stage meetings and in what order dignitaries and leaders should enter a room. NBC reports that assistant chief of protocol Mary-Kate Fisher will attend the G-20 in Lawler’s place.
Lawler was appointed by Trump in 2017, though Bloomberg reports that the president had “little fondness” for him. According to his State Department bio, he’s worked in government for 30 years and is a Navy veteran. He served in similar diplomatically-facing roles for the National Security Council and U.S. Cyber Command.