On Wednesday morning local time, soon after FBI Director James Comey was fired, Dana Shell Smith, envoy to Qatar, tweeted: "Increasingly difficult to wake up overseas to news from home, knowing I will spend today explaining our democracy and institutions."
The exact target of her comment was unclear, but it was widely interpreted as criticizing President Donald Trump for dismissing Comey. Her tweet comes as foreign envoys and officials in overseas capitals said they are increasingly looking for help in understanding the Trump administration's positions and actions.
Comey's firing was the latest incident to leave allies seeking clarity. Many diplomats told CNN they were surprised by the move and struggling to figure out what happened.
Not only do US policies and decisions reverberate around the world, but a large part of a foreign envoy's job is writing back to their governments to explain developments in their host countries.
The investigations of Russian interference in the US election campaign and the ongoing FBI investigation into possible links to the Trump campaign have been followed worldwide, not least in European ministries that have had similar experiences with Russian-backed campaigns.
By and large, even close allies told CNN they were surprised by Trump's move to fire the man leading the probe into possible Russian links to his campaign, with foreign officials in Washington and overseas looking for answers.
Foreign diplomats posted in DC were trying to get clarity after the latest twist in US domestic politics but said they don't expect it anytime soon.
Most described the move as further indication of the President's unpredictability, with one saying, "it's just another weird move by President Trump."
Another envoy said, "We were in question mode before this happened and we still are."
This diplomat noted the irony of Democrats' anger about Comey's firing, given their dissatisfaction with him and their sense that he cost their party's presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, the election.
Some of the diplomats said that they hoped this political issue wouldn't further paralyze an administration that the ambassador described as having "a total lack of coherence on foreign policy."
Still, the diplomats all said that their governments had no official reaction since Comey's fate was considered a US domestic issue.
One diplomat added that Comey was not a major headline, saying, "I can't say people are going crazy about it back home."
None of foreign diplomats who spoke to CNN wanted to speculate on what Comey's firing said about the future of the Russia investigation or US policy toward Moscow -- a matter of crucial interest to Europe and Ukraine.
But many wondered about the irony of the photo of Trump in the Oval Office smiling next to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov -- and the message it sent. The photo was taken by Russian state media a day after Comey was fired. No US press were granted access.
"I wonder if anyone is explaining to him how this looks," one diplomat said, referring to images of Trump laughing with the Russians a day after a move that many critics saw as an attempt to derail the FBI's Russia investigation. "You don't expect missteps at this level," the diplomat said.
Smith alluded to the questions from foreign interlocutors in a follow up tweet Thursday, writing, "diplomats explain & defend our political system. Can be tough when partisan acrimony so high, but there is still no greater country."
The State Department did not respond to a request for comment.
Smith, a 25-year career foreign service officer with a focus on public diplomacy, is expected to finish her post in Doha this summer.
Trump accepted the customary resignation of all ambassadors who were political appointments at the beginning of his administration, but most career ambassadors have been allowed to stay on for the duration of their terms.
Smith was appointed to the job by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2014 after serving both Democrat and Republican administrations.