Tags: Trump Administration | nicholas burns | better | rex tillerson | stays

Former Ambassador Burns: Better If Tillerson Stays

Image: Former Ambassador Burns: Better If Tillerson Stays
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By    |   Thursday, 05 Oct 2017 08:14 AM

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in a weakened position, and President Donald Trump has caused that "sorry situation," former State Department spokesman and ambassador Nicholas Burns said Thursday, but it's better for the United States that Tillerson remain in office.

"It's an extraordinary situation when the secretary of state has to hold a press conference in essence to say he's not resigning," Burns, now a professor of diplomacy and international politics at Harvard, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.

"[Take] Condi Rice with George W. Bush," Burns continued. "When she went to visit [Russian President] Vladimir Putin, they knew she spoke for the president. But Tillerson is not in that situation, when the president has taken issue with him on North Korea. He's weakened and it's a sorry situation and I should say this, Donald Trump has caused this situation. It's not Rex Tillerson's problem."

Further, said Burns, if this was a "normal time," one would say Tillerson would need to resign, but "this is not a normal time."

"The president has the North Korea crisis on the front burner," said Burns. "He has to go to Asia in November and have tough meetings with [Chinese President] Xi Jinping. It's better for the president and the country that Secretary Tillerson stay. I think he and [Defense] Secretary [James] Mattis, they're the block force preventing President Trump from doing real damage to this country if you think about the challenges we face."

Burns said he does think Chief of Staff John Kelly can speak with Trump about Tillerson, and tell him what he needs to do and not to do.

"Apparently he can speak truth to power to Donald Trump," said Burns. "He has to go into the Oval Office, and maybe he already has, to say 'Mr. President you cannot weaken your foreign policy ... you're weakening yourself in the process.' It's that kind of conversation, but I don't know where President Trump is going to be."

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in a weakened position, and President Donald Trump has caused that "sorry situation," former State Department spokesman and ambassador Nicholas Burns said Thursday, but it's better for the United States that Tillerson remain in...
nicholas burns, better, rex tillerson, stays
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2017-14-05
Thursday, 05 Oct 2017 08:14 AM
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