An Awkward Dinner Awaits Rex Tillerson

Tonight Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will have dinner together at the White House, but things might get a little awkward. Over the last five weeks, Trump has completely sidelined Tillerson, handicapped hiring decisions at State and threatened to reduce the State Department budget by 37%. Tillerson has also been excluded from high-level meetings with the Prime Ministers of Japan and Israel and the State Department hasn’t held a press briefing in over a month.

“Rex Tillerson has been sidelined by Donald Trump and Steve Bannon who are pushing a reckless foreign policy agenda that’s making us less safe here at home. A photo op over dinner may help Tillerson seem relevant for a few hours tonight but the country deserves better from the White House and State Department,” said American Bridge Spokesperson Sabrina Singh.

Here are some headlines and excepts haunting Tillerson:

The Washington Post Editorial: “PHOTOS FROM the restaurant at the Trump International Hotel in the Old Post Office on Saturday night confirm that President Trump had dinner with Nigel Farage, the former leader of the U.K. Independence Party and a key leader of the campaign for Britain to exit the European Union. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his wife were dining separately, not included in Mr. Trump’s party […]”

USA Today“President Trump’s expected proposal to slash the State Department and foreign aid budgets by 37% faced bipartisan resistance in Congress even before he formally unveiled it Tuesday night.”

The Washington Post: “The Trump administration in its first month has largely benched the State Department from its long-standing role as the pre­eminent voice of U.S. foreign policy, curtailing public engagement and official travel and relegating Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to a mostly offstage role.”

Vox: “Here’s one thing Tillerson hasn’t been able to do: choose his own deputy. Tillerson, who has never worked in government, wanted State Department veteran and longtime Republican foreign policy hand Elliott Abrams. Trump personally rejected Abrams after learning that the former Bush administration official had criticized him during the campaign.”

Politico: “That Tillerson is asking for media advice suggests he is concerned about the perception that he is out of the loop on major foreign policy decisions being made by the Trump administration.” 

The Atlantic“With the State Department demonstratively shut out of meetings with foreign leaders, key State posts left unfilled, and the White House not soliciting many department staffers for their policy advice, there is little left to do.”