I was never a fan of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Out of all of President Trump’s picks for his cabinet, he was my least favorite. I did not believe being the CEO of an oil company made him qualified to be our country’s lead diplomat. I also questioned whether he would be friendly to conservative concerns as they relate to foreign diplomacy (religious liberty, etc.). Then the fact he pushed for Common Core as CEO of Exxon Mobil did not endear me to him though that is not a relevant issue for the Secretary of State.
In short, President Trump said he was going to drain the swamp and Rex Tillerson looked, to me, to be of the swamp.
I was not surprised by the news this morning that he was out as Secretary of State. I am surprised he lasted as long as he did.
It’s no secret that Tillerson and Trump had a combative relationship.
They were at odds over Russia. He said he believed that Russia had interfered with the 2016 election. He went further than the White House in condemning Russia for a nerve agent attack in the United Kingdom last week. He agreed with the UK’s assessment that Russia was behind the attack against a former Russian spy in Salisbury, but the White House was unwilling to call out Russia.
With Iran, Trump wanted out of the Iran deal, but Tillerson wanted the United States to stay the course. The State Department’s attempt to undermine the White House on Iran appears to be the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.
North Korea has been a major point of contention between the two with President Trump goading North Korea’s leader Kim Jung Un and with Tillerson favoring negotiations.
Trump even tweeted, “I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man. Save your energy Rex; we’ll do what has to be done!”
Also, Tillerson wanted to stay in the Paris Climate Accord and was public with his disagreement about President Trump pulling the United States out of the accord.
I don’t agree 100 percent with President Trump’s approach to foreign policy, and I was concerned about his baiting North Korea. I think he needs to take a stronger position on Russia and back the United Kingdom up. I think Trump is right about the Iran nuke deal and Paris Climate Accord.
That is all beside the point. President Donald Trump is the President of the United States, and he sets the foreign policy of the United States as the head of state. Tillerson was appointed to represent the United States and carry out President Trump’s agenda. It is one thing to provide some push-back during private meetings, but the public back and forth is not in the country’s best interest.
The Secretary of State serves at the pleasure of the President. Any employee who acted the way Tillerson did on the job would have been fired long ago.