With each passing day, the isolation of Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson seems to be growing, along with the number of people calling for him to leave his job.
On Sunday, Foreign Policy magazine tweeted, “We’re in the midst of Tillerson’s career deathwatch. ‘Rexit’ is coming.” Ouch. The tweet accompanied a story noting that even Tillerson’s initial supporters have turned against him, saying he probably won’t make it through the rest of the year as secretary of state.
Others weren’t as nice, calling Tillerson possibly the worst secretary of state in the country’s history.
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News media coverage of Tillerson’s performance, while never entirely positive, has been noticeably pessimistic in the past few days. On Tuesday, The New York Times called Tillerson’s State Department the “lowest profile” State Department in nearly half a century. To arrive at this conclusion, the newspaper used State Department web archives to create a calendar of daily press briefings during five presidential administrations.
The results, laid out in a pretty straight–forward infographic, reveal an agency entirely in isolation and a micromanaging leader most likely in denial.
“They are objectively overturning a lot of the fundamental pillars of America’s bipartisan foreign policy,” R. Nicholas Burns, a spokesman for the Clinton administration and a diplomat for the George W. Bush administration, told the Times.
Then, on Sunday, the Times published another story revealing that Tillerson has failed to nominate anyone to most of the State Department’s 38 highest–ranking posts, “leaving many critical departments without direction, while working with a few personal aides reviewing many of the ways the department has operated for decades rather than developing a coherent foreign policy.”
Tillerson has insisted that the problems existed before he arrived and that fixing them would require a lot of time and effort. According to the Times, he has hired two consulting companies and formed five committees to problem–solve.
But it appears that time—and support—are running short for Tillerson. As Foreign Policy’s Derek Chollet noted:
Now the knives are out for him, as some of the chatter about Tillerson’s ineffectiveness are coming not just from the State Department, but sources in the White House. He has very few admirers in Congress. And as for the big boss, Tillerson has yet to be on the receiving end of a disapproving Trump tweet, but the fate of Attorney General Jeff Sessions has to be foremost on his mind. No matter how much time one spends sucking up to this president, you are only a step away from being under the bus.