And the reason seems to boil down to two things: President Trump, and what the story allowed people to believe about him one way or another.
Rogin's piece didn't dwell specifically on why these State Department staffers had left — and none of them are speaking publicly about it. But some Trump opponents saw the mass departures as confirmation that hugely important government staffers didn't want to work under Trump — that his unorthodox style and exploits were already alienating the people handling the day-to-day foreign policy of his administration.
To some, it even seemed the implosion of Trump's presidency couldn't be far behind.
Rogin, however, also noted that every political appointee — as these staffers are — submits a letter of resignation at the start of a new administration. It's then up to the new president to decide whether to accept it and try to find a replacement.
Which is what actually happened.
CNN later reported that the Trump administration had accepted the resignations in an effort to “clean house.”
Although the diplomats were not technically fired, the Trump administration opted to remove a number of top officials in charge of the State Department’s 13 divisions responsible for policy and other matters. Officials at the level of assistant secretary and above were affected, the department said.
An unnamed senior State Department official told CNN: “Any implication that these four people quit is wrong. These people are loyal to the secretary, the president and to the State Department. There is just not any attempt here to dis the president. People are not quitting and running away in disgust. This is the White House cleaning house.”
And in this, we have another Rorschach test. Some Trump opponents see this as recklessly draining the brain of the U.S. foreign policy apparatus, while others see it as Trump doing what he promised and draining the swamp — and specifically, Trump getting rid of bureaucrats somehow connected to a failed foreign policy under President Obama.
“One of the best elements of the new Trump administration is the housecleaning at the State Department,” conservative commentator Ben Shapiro wrote. “We can only hope such house cleaning takes place at other executive branch agencies, whether they resign or are tossed out on their ear, and no matter how loudly the media complain or fib about it.”
The conservative Daily Caller, meanwhile, went big: “They said it couldn’t be done. They said he wouldn’t do it. Yet here we are, less than a week into the administration of President Donald J. Trump, and our country’s leader is already 'draining the swamp.' "
Some didn't even seem to care whether they were forced out or opted to leave. The result, after all, was the same.
Mass State Dept resignations play directly into Trump's anti-Establishment narrative. Anti-Trumpers keep being strategically laughable.— Tom Woods (@ThomasEWoods) January 27, 2017
There is no such thing as “alternative facts,” but there are facts that can be understood in many ways and emphasized or de-emphasized according to one's own predilections. In this case, we had a strange and unusual confluence of a juicy story and arcane U.S. government protocol. And that proved a unique opportunity for people to choose their own adventures — even 24 hours later.