Washington D.C.: (CBS, Nov 3.2017): Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be by President Trump’s side to help navigate the, but once again the president is undercutting his authority.
The president told Fox News in an interview Thursday evening that. The two have had a complicated relationship over the past nine months.
Last month, Mr. Trump saidseeking diplomatic solutions with North Korea, and then the secretary made an extraordinary denying he planned to resign following reports that he’d This divide could undercut America’s negotiating power, reports CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan.
His unusual undermining of his secretary of state has left diplomats around the world scratching their heads. Mr. Trump has been willing to break with his predecessor’s commitments, and his dismissiveness of diplomacy has at times hamstrung his top diplomat. Many experienced diplomats have headed for the exits.
“I think something’s gotta change – for him to be effective again, or to try to be effective, something’s gotta change,” David Rank said.
After nearly 30 years of service, Rank quit his job as the acting ambassador to China when president Trumpagainst Tillerson’s advice.
“Certainly President Trump is capable of making it impossible for Secretary Tillerson to be successful in his job,” Rank said of whether he thinks Tillerson can stand up to the president.
Tillerson’s aloof management style and cost-saving plan to slash around 2,000 State Department positions has led to questions about whether he’s pushing back against his boss.
But when it comes to the people Tillerson does want to hire for senior positions, like the head of Asia policy, the White House has blocked his choices. Three hundred of the most senior positions at the State Department sit unfilled, and 48 of the 188 ambassador posts are vacant – most significantly, in South Korea.
“If you don’t have an ambassador, it’s kind of like you have the U.S. government but without a president,” said Ambassador William Brownfield.
He and former ambassador Kristie Kenney – who have served both Republicans and Democrats – said rising tensions on the Korean peninsula make it particularly vital to have a team in place.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, forgive the term, to realize that this is a very delicate issue and staying in super close touch with our South Korean, Japanese partners and the Chinese is critical,” said Kenney, who stepped down in April from the high-ranking post of Counselor of the Department.