Tags: Tillerson | Isolated

Report: Tillerson Isolates Himself From State Dept. Employees

Image: Report: Tillerson Isolates Himself From State Dept. Employees
Rex Tillerson (AP)

By    |   Friday, 31 Mar 2017 11:10 AM

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson rarely sees State Department employees outside his "insular circle of political aides," preferring to stay in his "palatial office" above them, The Washington Post reported.

According to the Post:

  • Tillerson, former ExxonMobil CEO, blocks off hours in his office for "reading time" of memos vs. meeting with officials or others.
  • Some diplomats have claimed they've been told not to even make eye contact with Tillerson or speak to him directly.

The Associated Press' Matt Lee denied this aspect of the story on Twitter, but the Post notes that Tillerson's behavior has "sown mistrust among career employees at State, who swap paranoid stories about Tillerson that often turn out to be untrue."

Tillerson declined the usual moral-boosting visit with State employees and their families at the embassies during his first few foreign trips, has yet to appoint an assistant secretary of state, and already committed a "rookie error, plain and simple," in skipping the first NATO foreign ministers' meeting, according to one former State official.

The former oil executive also seems unconcerned about President Donald Trump's budget proposal, which would cut funding for the State Dept. by 30 percent.

Rep. Eliot Engel, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Post that although Tillerson seemed to agree that Trump's cuts were "draconian," he appeared to accept them as "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?"

In his first meeting with State employees overseas on Thursday in Ankara, Tillerson called for an "honest" discussion of different ideas.

"That's how we come to a better decision in all that we do. And only if we do that can we then be honest with all of our partners and allies around the world as well. And still, I mean, we're going to have our differences, but we're going to be very honest and open about those, so at least we understand them."

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson rarely sees State Department employees outside his "insular circle of political aides," preferring to stay in his "palatial office" above them, The Washington Post reported....
Tillerson, Isolated
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2017-10-31
Friday, 31 Mar 2017 11:10 AM
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