Opinion Trump has damaged Tillerson beyond repair

18:40  11 october  2017
18:40  11 october  2017 Source:   USA TODAY

Top U.S. diplomat Tillerson says has never considered resigning

  Top U.S. diplomat Tillerson says has never considered resigning <p>U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday he had never considered resigning from his post, saying he was as committed to President Donald Trump's agenda as much today as he was when he first came into office.</p>"I have never considered leaving this post," Tillerson said at the State Department. "I am here for as long as the president feels I can be useful to achieving his objectives.

Join the Nation's Conversation. To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs. Trump has damaged Tillerson beyond repair .

Differences between Trump and Tillerson have been on display from the start -- as have the ways in which Trump has made Tillerson 's path a bumpier one. In late February, Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly traveled to Mexico to repair damage done by Trump 's dismissal at the

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson © Andrew Harnik, AP Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

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PARIS — President Trump has left his chief foreign policy negotiator a deeply damaged diplomat, perhaps as profoundly wounded in his world standing as any predecessor back to Thomas Jefferson, the first U.S. secretary of State. 

Less than an hour after Rex Tillerson had finished a meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping, he told reporters at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Beijing that back channels had been opened with North Korea to try to defuse a crisis that seemed to be spiraling toward nuclear war. “We are probing, so stay tuned,” Tillerson said enigmatically. Less than a news cycle later, however, there was no equivocation from his boss.

Top U.S. diplomat Tillerson says has never considered resigning

  Top U.S. diplomat Tillerson says has never considered resigning <p>U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday he had never considered resigning from his post, saying he was as committed to President Donald Trump's agenda as much today as he was when he first came into office.</p>"I have never considered leaving this post," Tillerson said at the State Department. "I am here for as long as the president feels I can be useful to achieving his objectives.

I have total confidence," he added. Still, news outlets have run stories since then claiming that Trump and Tillerson have clashed over staff and policy on Iran and North Korea and that their relationship has been damaged beyond repair .

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he has no plans to resign and will not do so, denying reports that Vice President Mike Pence had to urge him to stay in the job and sidestepping questions about whether he called President Donald Trump a "moron.".

“I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” Trump tweeted, using his favorite nickname for North Korea’s erratic leader Kim Jong-un. “Save your energy Rex, we'll do what has to be done!

If Korea was not complication enough, now it’s the nuclear deal with Iran, perhaps the most immediate and noxious problem facing Tillerson and Trump. And while Tillerson has been struggling frantically to hold together the agreement, carefully worked out by three of America’s closest allies (France, Germany and Great Britain) plus Russia, the European Union and China, Trump has been doing his level best to torpedo this accord.

Late this week the president is expected to decertify the deal and contend that Iran has violated it. That will send the whole process into another potentially lethal tailspin. Then it will be left to Tillerson to handle fallout among the three U.S. allies who signed it, as well as Russia and China — two countries Trump very much wants on board to help with his other nuclear crisis in North Korea.

Pompeo under consideration to replace Tillerson as secretary of state: report

  Pompeo under consideration to replace Tillerson as secretary of state: report Advisers and allies of President Trump have suggested replacing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, according to an Axios report. Trump is said to have a good rapport with Pompeo, who delivers the President's Daily Brief. According to Axios, Pompeo would be seen by world leaders as a member of Trump's inner circle in a way Tillerson is not.At the same time, however, White House chief of staff John Kelly has reportedly urged the president against high-level shake-ups before next year, fearing that it would only add to the chaos in the administration.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has often been the silent man in the Trump foreign policy team. But out of the spotlight, he appears to be crafting a broad strategy aimed at working with China to resolve the North Korea crisis and with Russia to stabilize Syria and Ukraine.

But despite all the denials, many sources in both camps say that this is a relationship beyond repair and, in fact, that the only reason the President is not firing Secretary Tillerson is that he has already gotten rid of so many people in his cabinet and top White House staff that he can’t afford more

At the very moment Tillerson faces a massively complex web of international issues, one that needs a delicate diplomatic touch and full confidence of a head of state in command of all that lies before him, Trump has instead all but castrated his secretary of state. 

And Tillerson has all but exhausted his credibility with virtually anyone contemplating doing diplomatic business with the United States. Having called Trump a “moron” at a Pentagon meeting that hardly remained confidential, Tillerson was forced to go before the live cameras that send shudders up his spine, to utter an unconvincing apologia.

Just imagine if Richard Nixon had suddenly told his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, as Kissinger was walking into the office of Chinese leader Mao Zedong to set up the historic opening to China, “Nah, don't do that, I've changed my mind.”

Clearly Tillerson doesn’t think much of the president. But Trump fortunately seems thus far to recognize that it would be catastrophicfor his national security efforts if he simply ditched Tillerson — one of three linchpins trying to sustain what remains of America’s global standing. The other two are Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.

Rex Tillerson is reportedly no fan of U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley

  Rex Tillerson is reportedly no fan of U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is at odds with the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, adding to the drama of what has been a tumultuous week for the diplomat, according to a report."Rex hates her," a senior U.S. official said about Tillerson's feelings toward Haley. "He f------ hates her.

One could argue that Trump has been stripping Tillerson of this credibility for months, and the Cohen suggests that the department would benefit from Tillerson ’s departure, but that presupposes that his likely replacement would have any interest in repairing the damage he has already done.

Cummings and Smith said Gowdy's narrow attacks on the Pentagon and repeated delays have now " damaged the credibility of the Select Committee beyond repair ." "If Trump is upset Rex Tillerson called him a moron, wait till he finds out what the rest of the country has been calling him," Jimmy

That makes Tillerson the only civilian at the top of the national security pyramid and, counting White House chief of staff John Kelly (a retired Marine general), the only civilian in the quartet holding together the Trump White House. As Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker said last week, “Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis and Chief of Staff Kelly are those people who help separate our country from chaos.”

Still, Tillerson soldiers on. He retains some hope of brokering at least a dialogue with Pyongyang. And he's been flitting about the Middle East trying gamely to solve the Qatar mess that has one of the leading U.S. allies in the region at loggerheads with its neighbors, which include the few other remaining friends there.

To a lesser extent, Tillerson brought this on himself. His outspoken feelings about his boss are only the latest in a host of missteps that began when he arrived at the State Department and decided the sprawling enterprise should be treated like a dysfunctional multi-national corporation, brought to heel by a management consultant. Effectively gutting the State Department, failing to staff most of the major regional departments that keep the diplomatic machinery turning, he has no support system.

Trump says Tillerson could be tougher, but they have good relationship

  Trump says Tillerson could be tougher, but they have good relationship U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday he had a good relationship with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson but that Tillerson could be tougher. Trump, who made the comment to reporters at the White House, did not elaborate.NBC reported this week that in a session with Trump’s national security team and Cabinet officials at the Pentagon, Tillerson had openly criticized the president and referred to him as a "moron."Tillerson on Wednesday said he had never considered resigning and was committed to Trump’s agenda, but failed to address whether he had referred to the president as a “moron,” as NBC reported.

The standoff has entered a new, more dangerous phase since then as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Trump have exchanged personal insults and threats of war. “I think the most immediate action that we need is to calm things down,” Tillerson said.

Journalist Stephanie Ruhle, who contributed to the story, not only stood by her sourcing but doubled down on the report that Tillerson had disparaged Trump 's intelligence to staffers. "My source didn't just say that [ Tillerson ] called [ Trump ] a moron," Ruhle told MSNBC.

It’s probably time for Tillerson to go. If CIA director Mike Pompeo is the one who slides in behind him, is any of the damage to American credibility, in what are clearly looming crises, reparable in real time?

President Obama had a similar credibility problem with American allies, also of his own making, when he drew a red line over Syrian use of chemical weapons then backed away from it, leaving allies like France twisting in the wind. Trust is the coin of the realm in international diplomacy, and right now neither Trump nor Tillerson has a centime remaining.

Sometimes you just have to know when it’s time to say goodbye.

David A. Andelman, member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors, is the author of A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today. He formerly served as Paris correspondent for CBS News. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidAndelman.

Tillerson Vows to Stay On Until He's `No Longer Needed' by Trump .
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson vowed to remain in his post despite some public differences with President Donald Trump and said he ignores criticism and speculation in the media about his status or his future in the administration. “I’m motivated to serve the country and serve this president, and until somebody tells me your services are no longer needed or wanted, that’s what I’m going to keep doing,” Tillerson said in an interview Thursday at the State Department.He said his decades of experience at Exxon Mobil Corp.

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