Rex Tillerson Says “President Speaks for Himself”
The political differences between U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and President Donald Trump have worsened, as Tillerson increasingly distances himself from Trump. After Steve Bannon, could Tillerson be the next one out the door of the Trump administration?
Every political commentator seems to be debating that question after Tillerson made some interesting comments on Fox News Sunday. Tillerson was speaking with anchorperson Chris Wallace about the Charlottesville, Virginia protests, which turned into a bloody fight between white supremacists and their opponents.
Tillerson said he did not doubt that the American people, the American government, and its agencies were committed to upholding American values. But when asked about President Trump’s values, Tillerson was quick to respond, “The President speaks for himself”.
Trump earlier blamed the violence on “many sides,” implying that both factions of the conflict were responsible for the bloodshed. Tillerson’s comments made it obvious that he did not agree with Trump on that issue.
This, however, was not the first time we have seen Tillerson distance himself from Trump, and that distance has been growing ever since Trump got into office.
Tillerson has played a part in neutralizing Trump’s aggressive foreign policy stances on a couple of occasions. Earlier, despite Trump’s threats that the United States would respond to North Korea’s missile launches with “fire and fury,” Tillerson reassured Americans that there will be no nuclear war. The secretary of state took a stance of deescalation, saying that the U.S. will seek peaceful resolutions to North Korea’s provocations.
Likewise, differences between Trump and Tillerson’s diplomatic values became obvious when Trump sided with the Saudis and took a harsh stand against Qatar, calling out Qatar out for sponsoring terrorists. Meanwhile, Tillerson’s spokesperson R.C. Hammond took the middle ground, hinting that the U.S. would continue to mediate between the two Middle Eastern powers, saying that progress was visible.
It is evident that Tillerson does not back Trump’s controversial, often aggressive, stances on foreign policy. With the differences between Trump and Tillerson growing, we can see why concerned Americans are asking: “Could Tillerson be the next official in the Trump administration to get fired?”
“Scoop: Trump frustration with Tillerson rising fast,” Axios, August 27, 2017.