President Donald Trump promptly put the kibosh on Tillerson’s choice of a deputy, Elliott Abrams. He failed to consult with Tillerson on his policy change on Palestinian statehood or putting Iran “on notice” for its most recent ballistic missile test — whatever that may mean. The nation’s chief diplomat has been absent from the president’s key meetings with the leaders of Israel and Canada and largely invisible in Trump’s encounters with the prime ministers of Japan and the United Kingdom, as well as the White House’s diplomacy with Mexico so far. The White House’s reassurance tour of Europe, which you might expect to be helmed by the secretary of state, consisted instead of Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly. There are reports that Tillerson played a role in Trump’s walk-back on the “one China” policy. But there’s no indication that he’s been involved in high-level discussions concerning Russia.
March 1, 2017 at 6:50 AM EST