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Is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson next on the chopping block? Perhaps he should be.
Despite what you may think of Donald Trump, he’s still President of the United States and CEO of the Executive Branch. As such, all Cabinet secretaries serve at the behest and pleasure of the President.
This can be problem for some, particular those who have transitioned from the private sector, where they were the big cheese, and now must suddenly become a subordinate.
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Recall the exchange at the White House after Ronald Reagan was shot, when Alexander Haig uttered his infamous statement – as of now, I’m in charge, comment.
“Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the president, the vice president and the secretary of state, in that order, and should the president decide he wants to transfer the helm to the vice president, he will do so,” Haig explained to reporters in the White House press room, apparently forgetting that the House speaker and the Senate’s president pro tempore come before the secretary of state in the line of succession. And then, in a dozen words that would become famous, he said, “As of now, I am in control here, in the White House.”
Of course he wasn’t, but he was used to being in charge, so in my opinion, this was just a natural, although knee-jerk and ignorant reaction. He had been an important man for decades, as an Army General, then Chief of Staff to Nixon and Ford, and Secretary of State to Reagan.
Trump may find he’ll have to take a long look at many of his appointees – ex-big wigs, billionaire CEOs, etc.
These guys are used to being in charge and some have been the ultimate decision-maker for decades in their fields. Now they find themselves playing second and third fiddle to a president that may not agree with on every policy issue. This may be the problem with Tillerson.
“The State Department under Secretary Rex Tillerson has been locked in a growing power struggle with the White House that has angered officials in the West Wing and sparked claims that the Trump administration’s top diplomatic organ is now in ‘open war’ with the White House on a range of critical issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian impasse, Iran, the crisis with Qatar, and other matters, according to multiple sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon about the situation.”
The White House is said to be extremely frustrated that the Tillerson State Department has still not filled several key positions, thus allowing, “former Obama administration appointees still at the State Department to continue running the show and formulating policy, where they have increasingly clashed with the White House’s own agenda.” This, despite being sent multiple lists of potential candidates. These lists have been completely ignored.
An anonymous source told the Beacon that, “Tillerson was supposed to clean house, but he left half of them in place and he hid the other half in powerful positions all over the building. These are career staffers committed to preventing Trump from reversing what they created.”
This alone, in my opinion, is a fireable offense.
One of these Obama holdovers is Stuart Jones, the assistant secretary of state for near-eastern affairs. In other words – the Middle East.
We know what a disaster the Middle East had become under Obama, and this man has become Tillerson’s “go-to” advisor on policy. This is unconscionable!
One of Trump’s campaign promises was to undo the Iran deal. But Tillerson and Stuart are, “apparently spending time and effort trying to prevent the president from undoing the Iran deal.”
As mentioned, they are also is disagreement with the White House over Qatar terror financing, and despite what Trump says, they won’t even “condemn Palestinian terror attacks.”
To me, this is an untenable situation. Tillerson must go and the next appointee must clean house from stem to stern.
Whatever you may think of Donald Trump as President – know this. He is being attacked from all sides – within and without. Neither the Congress nor the Senate appears to want to work with him. Now his own (supposed) people are rebelling against him.
The next time someone complains that Trump hasn’t made good on his campaign promises – remind them of this.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.