Tags: coons | tension | trump | tillerson

Sen. Coons More Concerned With Private Tensions Between Trump, Tillerson

Sen. Coons More Concerned With Private Tensions Between Trump, Tillerson
(AP)

By    |   Thursday, 05 October 2017 02:05 PM

The public disagreements between President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are far more concerning than what may or may not have been said in private, Sen. Chris Coons said Thursday.

"It's vital our Secretary of State be able to speak with our allies and adversaries and have them know he speaks for the president and the United States," the Delaware Democrat told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.

Meanwhile, Coons said it's not surprising to him that Trump and Tillerson don't have a close, warm relationship.

"They're both big men, big personalities," said Coons. "They've been successful CEOs in business, and so the chemistry hasn't exactly gelled between them. To me, it's less about the private disagreement than about whether our secretary of state can advance our national security interests through diplomacy."

On Wednesday, NBC News reported in an exclusive that Tillerson had considered resigning his post in July. At one point, the article said, the Secretary of State had called Trump a "moron," a claim Tillerson dismissed as "petty nonsense" and said he would not be party to attempts to divide the administration.

Trump also panned the report, in several tweets, as "fake news."

Coons said he is deeply concerned about the State Department's morale, and about the senior positions that remain unfilled.

"The conflict that we have emerging with North Korea is probably top of his list, yet, we don't have an assistant Secretary of State for East Asia," said Coons. "We don't have an ambassador to South Korea. There's not even a nominee for those positions. There's lots of places around the world where some of the most senior positions in the State Department, we don't have anyone in front of the Foreign Relations Committee nominated. That's who does the diplomacy."

Coons said he believes there are "structural challenges" making it difficult for the State Department to do its job.

"I think that Secretary Tillerson needs to look closely at whether or not he's able to make a difference and able to move forward in what is his important role in this administration," said Coons.

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The public disagreements between President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are far more concerning than what may or may not have been said in private, Sen. Chris Coons said Thursday."It's vital our Secretary of State be able to speak with our allies and...
coons, tension, trump, tillerson
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2017-05-05
Thursday, 05 October 2017 02:05 PM
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