Tillerson Ditching the Press on First Trip to Asia

On heels of the revelation that Rex Tillerson used a pseudonym to send emails about climate change while CEO at ExxonMobil, on the State Department press briefing call today, State spokesman Mark Toner confirmed that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would not be taking U.S. press with him on his first trip to Asia. American Bridge spokesperson Sabrina Singh released the following statement in response:

“Again Secretary’s Tillerson’s decision to shut out the U.S. press from traveling with him on his first trip to Asia is taking a page right out of Vladimir Putin’s book. North Korea is threatening the stability of the region and Americans deserve to being questioned how our chief diplomat will respond. But Tillerson has decided to ditch the press just as reports surface that he used a pseudonym to send emails a possibly mislead investors and the public on ExxonMobil’s understanding of climate change. Tillerson is less than 2 hours away from takeoff and appears to be denying Americans the basic transparency and accountability they deserve.”

Listen to the exchange between State Department spokesman Mark Toner and a reporter here:

Transcript:

Reporter: “Question 1, you note that Secretary Tillerson will be wheels up in a few hours on route to Asia, is he in fact taking any journalists with him?”

Toner: “I’d have to take the question, um, I’m not sure if there was a seat available on the plane. As you know, it was a small airplane. We could not accommodate press. We were trying to finalize logistics. I’m not actually on this trip but I would have to take that question. Do you have an additional one?”

Reporter: “Yes, I mean they’re all related. You are two hours and six minutes from takeoff, is it really so hard to find out whether there is a reporter on the plane?”

Toner: “Again, I haven’t been handling logistics around this particular question so I’m going to have to take the question. I do know they were considering having, or if it was possible, having a seat available, all that said, it’s a small airplane. There are limited seats available and we have been very clear in our discussions with the media about that. We have been very clear frankly that this is a smaller footprint all around. And, you know, this is the Secretary’s decision.