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CNN: Tillerson Won't Back Ivanka's India Trip

CNN: Tillerson Won't Back Ivanka's India Trip
(AP)

By    |   Saturday, 25 November 2017 12:03 PM

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson won't be sending a delegation of senior-level State Department officials to support first daughter Ivanka Trump on her trip to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India next week, and sources inside the department say his decision was made because she is leading the U.S. delegation this year, not because he's cutting costs.

In June, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited Trump to the event, which this year is based on the theme of supporting women entrepreneurs, reports CNN.

The large yearly event is put on by the State Department, and in the past, it has attracted guests all the way to the highest level of the U.S. government, with President Barack Obama attending it several times.

However, this year, a senior State Department official told CNN that "no one higher than the deputy assistant secretary is allowed to participate. The secretary and his top staff have insisted on approving all travel, even the most minute details."

"They (Tillerson and his staff) won't send someone senior because they don't want to bolster Ivanka. It's now another rift between the White House and State at a time when Rex Tillerson doesn't need any more problems with the President," an unnamed official told CNN.

Another source close to the White House, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, told CNN the thin State Department delegation was being felt as a snub, and that Tillerson does not want to put the department's support behind Trump while making her highest-profile appearance and representing the United States.

"Rex doesn't like the fact that he's supposed to be our nation's top diplomat, and Jared [Kushner] and now Ivanka have stepped all over Rex Tillerson for a long time," the source told CNN.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, though, told CNN the department is "committed to supporting women's economic empowerment and entrepreneurship, and the summit is a prime opportunity to showcase the importance of these themes."

The Entrepreneurship Summit was started under Obama in 2010, and was held in California's Silicon Valley last year. Obama, though, attended when it was held in Kenya in 2015, and his secretary of state John Kerry traveled to it in Malaysia in 2013.

This year's summit falls as the White House has ordered the State Department's budget to be slashed. In addition, there is no permanent Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs, even though the department has said it is committed to achieving a stronger relationship with India.

The acting assistant secretary, Alice Wells, however, was originally to be at the Summit but Tillerson's team has pulled her off the trip, a source told CNN.

Ivanka Trump's spokesperson refused comment to CNN.

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson won't be sending a delegation of senior-level State Department officials to support first daughter Ivanka Trump to her trip to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India next week, and sources inside the department say his decision was made...
tillerson, ivanka, india, trip
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2017-03-25
Saturday, 25 November 2017 12:03 PM
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