Why President Trump Fired Rex Tillerson

It wasn’t the disagreement over moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the wisdom of direct talks with North Korea or even the very clear split with the President over Russia’s aggression. In the end, calling Donald Trump a “moron” last year — and the broader personality clash it represented — was what cost Secretary of State Rex Tillerson his job on Tuesday.

The move could mark the start of a broader purge. Republican officials say Trump has grown tired of listening to advisers who have tried to moderate his style. Now, these officials say, Trump will do things to his liking.

“It’s no secret the President is not a patient man. Now, he’s really out of patience and will be doing things his way,” said one Republican on Capitol Hill who worries what that means for the GOP’s odds of holding its majorities in this fall’s midterm elections. “The President tried it their way and didn’t like what he was seeing. Now, he’s going to try it his way.”

Trump fired Tillerson by tweet, expelling the former energy company CEO at an moment the U.S. is in dozens of hotspots around the globe that require constant tending and the President seems determined to shed his minders and go it his way. The pair spoke hours later, only after Trump had announced CIA Director Mike Pompeo would move from spy chief to chief diplomat.

Even by Trumpian standards, Tillerson’s fall was dramatic. White House chief of staff John Kelly hinted that the dismissal was in the offing during a Friday phone call with the Secretary of State, who was abroad on a diplomatic mission. Kelly strongly suggested Tillerson should cut his trip short and get back to the U.S., according to a White House official.

Tillerson’s team at first suggested the move caught him by surprise and that he learned about it only when an aide showed him the Twitter post. His aides said the secretary did not know why he had been fired before Trump tweeted the news.

The White House quickly fired a State Department spokesman for contradicting their story.

Tillerson’s departure is just the latest from Trump’s orbit. On Monday, Trump’s personal aide, John McEntee, was escorted from the White House; CNN reported McEntee was under investigation for financial affairs unrelated to Trump. (On Tuesday, Trump’s re-election campaign announced McEntee was joining the effort in a senior role.) Last week, top economic adviser Gary Cohn, a millionaire Democrat, announced he was leaving the White House. And a week before that, Hope Hicks announced she was leaving her post as White House communications director and all-around Trump whisperer.

Trump clashed with Tillerson repeatedly on foreign policy, often undercutting the man he lured away from ExxonMobil to be America’s envoy to the world. Tillerson, for his part, did the same, often contradicting Trump’s White House. Foreign diplomats were sometimes unsure if Tillerson was speaking on behalf of the United States or not.

The latest example came in recent …read more

Source:: Time – Politics


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