Reprinted with permission from ProPublica. There are times that you run across something that’s so preposterous that it’s hard to believe it’s true. But in this case, it is. I’m talking about the multiple — and permanent — set of tax breaks that some of the Trump administration’s mega-wealthy appointees and their heirs stand to […]
Donald Trump’s explosive feud with his own Secretary of State — who reportedly called him a fucking moron — is a disaster for diplomacy, but a cornucopia for late-night comedians. Trump responded to Rex Tillerson’s alleged insult with a challenge. “I think it’s fake news,” said the president, “but if he did [call Trump a […]
Of all the embarrassing moments during Trump’s trip to Puerto Rico, Seth Meyers thinks the most revealing was his conversation with a woman distributing water purification tablets at a church. Not only did the president sound rudely insensitive to the desperation of those who must drink purified water — but he seemed to suspect that […]
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is growing increasingly frustrated with the Trump administration and could quit before the year is through, according to reports.
President Trump disclosed highly classified information to Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador about a planned Islamic State operation, two U.S. officials said on Monday, plunging the White House into another controversy just months into Trump’s short tenure in office.
Perhaps nowhere outside the West Wing is that retreat more apparent than at the State Department, which for the first six weeks of the Trump administration essentially shut off all communication with the public and the press.
One of Rex Tillerson’s first directives as U.S. secretary of state was an order to senior staff that his briefing materials not exceed two pages. It was a reflection of Tillerson’s management style honed at the helm of Exxon Mobil, and one reason his closest aides at the State Department refer to him as “the CEO” rather than “the Secretary.”
In the vote, 56 senators backed Tillerson, and 43 voted no. Senate Democrats had tried, but failed, to delay the vote because of Trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven mostly Muslim countries and temporarily halting the entry of refugees. They said they wanted to ask Tillerson more questions about the issue after Trump signed the order.
Authoritarians love walls. That will be his scrawl across America. It will make an enemy of our neighbor, Mexico, but who cares? That may be his foreign policy in a nutshell. We’re living in Donald Trump’s reality now, and the “truth” is what Trump says it is.
“It’s the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember, and that’s incredibly difficult to replicate,” said David Wade, the State Department chief of staff under John Kerry. “Department expertise in security, management, administrative, and consular positions in particular are very difficult to replicate and particularly difficult to find in the private sector.”
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 11-10 to approve Tillerson, with every Republican backing the former oil executive and every Democrat opposing him. Democrats said they voted against Tillerson over fears he might lift sanctions on Russia.
Erring on the side of recklessness comes at a high price. It undermines the constitutional rights America values most. It harms our international image. It hands a recruitment tool to terrorists. We know this now. Time to apply the lesson.
Rex Tillerson, the former oil executive under consideration for U.S. secretary of state, is trying to avoid giving testimony in a federal lawsuit over climate change, according to a lawyer for a group of teenagers who filed the suit. Tillerson’s deposition is set for Jan. 19, a day before President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.
The incoming U.S. administration’s tough talk against China has set the stage for showdowns on everything from security to trade and cyberspace, but contradictory signals are sowing uncertainty over how far President-elect Donald Trump is prepared to go in confronting Beijing.
Are we living history backward? A swaggering new president who lost the people’s vote may mimic Julius Caesar’s Rome, changing from a republic to an empire. Caesar conquered Gaul. Trump conquered Rockefeller Center, where NBC made the mogul’s reality show, “The Apprentice.” It feels “unpresidented.”
Tillerson is already under fire for making the seemingly false claim that Exxon has not lobbied against sanctions on Russia and other nations that would affect Exxon’s business dealings, but here are five other climate change-related takeaways that reporters should keep in mind in their coverage of the hearing and Tillerson nomination going forward.
During the hearings, Tillerson repeatedly said that he and Exxon did not lobby Congress about sanctions against Russia implemented in 2014. Sens. Jeff Merkley and Bob Menendez then confronted Tillerson with lobbying documents that showed Exxon opposed the sanctions and paid Washington-based lobbyists to oppose the legislation.
Tillerson’s support for a more assertive policy toward Russia than Trump has espoused was tempered by his refusal to commit to support maintaining President Barack Obama’s executive order authorizing additional sanctions against Moscow because of its interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
With Tillerson as the country’s top diplomat, the opportunity to redefine the rationale and methods for the entirety of our interactions with other nations is unparalleled. While this has been true to some extent since World War II, this appointment institutionalizes the view that our national diplomacy will be guided by resource acquisition.
The central question facing Tillerson, 64, the former chairman of Exxon Mobil, is how effectively he can transform himself from a Big Oil “dealmaker” to being America’s top diplomat with little government experience.
Schumer said Trump’s nominees, many of whom have extensive business backgrounds at companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp and Goldman Sachs, should be carefully scrutinized to be sure they avoid conflicts of interest. He also confirmed that some of Trump’s nominees have not completed a review process conducted by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.