There has been so much surprising news lately that this bit almost escaped us. Wait, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is a biker? As in motorcycles?
The United States’ top diplomat was photographed on Sunday astride a Harley-Davidson as he participated in the annual tradition of Rolling Thunder, a motorcycle ride in Washington on Memorial Day paying tribute POWs and MIAs. It was Tillerson like we’ve never seen him before — instead of the usual staid suit, he wore dark sunglasses and a road-ready leather vest festooned with patches (including what looks like one bearing the State Department’s seal).
Tillerson’s hog-riding apparently wasn’t flagged to the media. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell griped about the undercover act in a Tuesday tweet. “@StateDept announces Mideast briefing with 22 minutes notice after no briefings for weeks and no alert Tillerson riding #RollingThunder,” she wrote.
A call to the State Department to learn more about Tillerson’s hobby wasn’t returned. Here’s what we do know: it’s certainly unusual for a Cabinet secretary. Of course, Tillerson’s predecessor, John F. Kerry was a biker, too — but of the pedal-pushing variety (and don’t forget another of his pursuits, windsurfing).
And it seems the current secretary’s pastime has come up before, and like so much in the news, all roads these days lead to Russia. Igor Sechin, head of the Russian oil giant Rosneft, once told Reuters that U.S. sanctions against Russia had hurt him personally, because “he would no longer be able to come the United States to take motorcycle rides with Tillerson.”