The Corner

White House

Rex Out

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at a press conference in Abuja, Nigeria, March 12, 2018. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool/Reuters)

In response to Tillerson’s Firing Likely Unrelated to Russia

I think Michael has the bottom-line exactly right in his post below: Tillerson’s ouster is mostly a function of Trump getting a cabinet more to his liking. Tillerson is an accomplished and good man, who never clicked with the president and who never really established himself as Secretary of State. He didn’t have a constituency in his own building, on Capitol Hill, among the press, or at the White House. That doesn’t mean he should have been fired by tweet–a particularly graceless act by Trump–but it does mean a change was necessary, since this arrangement didn’t suit the interests of anyone. Mike Pompeo is smart, has proven he can run a large organization, has a good relationship with Trump and largely shares the president’s worldview. This move is a blow to General Mattis, who has lost a key establishmentarian ally in Tillerson and should boost H.R. McMaster in terms of policy, but the national security advisor is at risk if Trump is clearing out top people he doesn’t get along with.


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