Well it’s that time again.
Time to talk about Rex Tillerson.
When last we checked in on the de jure Secretary of State, Rex was trying to… well… trying to get a State Department.
See, we don’t hear much from Tillerson because, as indicated by the de jure label we applied above, he’s the nation’s top diplomat in name only. The de facto Secretary of State is Jared Kushner or, as he’s also known, Donald Trump’s son-in-law.
Some people think it’s strange that the Trump administration doesn’t seem to think having a State Department is necessary, but when you really think about it, it makes sense. After all, the whole point here is to wall ourselves off from the rest of the world both figuratively in the form of adopting an increasingly isolationist foreign policy and literally in the form of hiring Hispanic immigrants to build a wall aimed at keeping out Hispanic immigrants.
On Friday, WaPo is out with a hilarious piece on Tillerson who, apparently, would really prefer it if you didn’t look at him, let alone speak to him. See, Tillerson is like Medusa. If you look him the eyes, you may turn to stone. Here’s more:
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson takes a private elevator to his palatial office on the seventh floor of the State Department building, where sightings of him are rare on the floors below.
On many days, he blocks out several hours on his schedule as “reading time,” when he is cloistered in his office poring over the memos he prefers ahead of in-person meetings.
Most of his interactions are with an insular circle of political aides who are new to the State Department. Many career diplomats say they still have not met him, and some have been instructed not to speak to him directly — or even make eye contact.
On his first three foreign trips, Tillerson skipped visits with State Department employees and their families, embassy stops that were standard morale-boosters under other secretaries of state.
Eight weeks into his tenure as President Trump’s top diplomat, the former ExxonMobil chief executive is isolated, walled off from the State Department’s corps of bureaucrats in Washington and around the world. His distant management style has created growing bewilderment among foreign officials who are struggling to understand where the United States stands on key issues. It has sown mistrust among career employees at State, who swap paranoid stories about Tillerson that often turn out to be untrue. And it threatens to undermine the power and reach of the State Department, which has been targeted for a 30 percent funding cut in Trump’s budget.
Many have expressed alarm that Tillerson has not fought harder for the agency he now leads.
Rep. Eliot L. Engel (N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Tillerson called him after the proposed cuts were announced. Engel said Tillerson seemed to share Engel’s concern that the cuts are “draconian” and counterproductive. But Engel said Tillerson seemed to signal his acquiescence when he called them “a glide path to what was about to happen.”
“I’m chagrined by what’s happening, or not happening,” Engel said.
“When you put it all together, it certainly seems they’re trying to downsize the State Department and make it irrelevant. I’m at a loss for words. Why would Tillerson take the job if he was not going to defend his agency?”
At first, we thought that was a good question.
That is, “why would Tillerson take the job if he was not going to defend his agency?”
Then we remembered…