Aside from the president himself, no one in the Trump administration gets inside the head of the mainstream media like Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
When he started, they probed, “What is he doing here?” meaning “Why would we have an oil man as Secretary of State?” Then, they moved to, “What is he doing here?”, meaning why would Trump choose a man who spent so much time in Russia given all the Russia controversy?”
Then, they moved to, “What is he doing here that he doesn’t hire staff and leaves large swaths of upper-level jobs in his department empty – and never plans to fill them? Doesn’t he understand the importance of deputy under-secretaries to the country’s future?”
Now, they are asking, “What is he still doing here?” He’s been “humiliated” by Trump on numerous occasions. He and the president have aired conflicting views on things from time to time – most recently on North Korea where, after Tillerson had said the U.S. had established diplomatic back channels with North Korea, the president told him not to waste his time negotiating with “Little Rocket Man.”
He said Trump “speaks for himself” in reaction to the president’s public statements on the riots in Charlottesville. His resignation – forced or otherwise – has been rumored for weeks. Louise Mensch, of course, claims he’s already been indicted.
And then, on Wednesday, Tillerson held a “hastily scheduled” news conference – as if there is any other kind – to say he didn’t intend to resign, didn’t have to be talked out of quitting last summer and that Trump “loves his country,” is “smart” and insists on “accountability.” He wouldn’t even answer a question about whether he had called Trump a “moron.”
“What we have accomplished, we have done as a team,” said Tillerson, who noted he talks to Secretary of Defense James Mattis almost every day.
David Ignatius, now the elder statesman of the Post op-ed foreign policy team, sketched out the mainstream media’s new narrative perfectly. Tillerson had “symbolically kissed the ring of President Trump on Wednesday in affirming his desire to remain in his post, despite reports of sharp friction between him and the White House. But how long will this gesture of loyalty secure his position?”
Later, Ignatius wondered if “this profession of loyalty will appease what has appeared to be the president’s growing anger with his chief diplomat. For Tillerson, the question is whether, after humbling himself in such a public manner, he can remain an effective and confident representative of the United States abroad.”
No information is offered on how Ignatius knows about all this friction between the two. Or how he knows Trump was angry Tillerson hadn’t cleared his North Korea comments with the White House – an unlikely event given Tillerson gave his remarks in response to an impromptu question.
Jennifer Rubin, who writes a blog called Right Turn whose mission seems to be to turn on the right, wrote “The sight of America’s secretary of state reduced to scraping and bowing to the president should not please any American or ally of America. That role is the most critical in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy, and seeing its occupant so diminished and disrespected signals that our foreign policy is entirely dysfunctional.”
Is there anything that could happen on earth that Rubin would not thing signals our foreign policy is entirely dysfunctional?
When asked whether he called President Trump a moron,” Tillerson said, “I’m not going to deal with petty points like that,” then added that he does not understand the Washington impulse to “sow dissension” and undermine the administration’s work. To Rubin, that meant he “essentially confirmed he had” called Trump a moron.
“And by coming out to address the issue personally, he ensured the big story would become a really [her emphasis] big story.” Which it didn’t.
Then came two Obama administration lackeys to confirm Rubin’s thinking. “The most humiliating, degrading performance by a secretary of state I have seen in my lifetime,” said one who had served with Hillary Clinton. “Servile,” croaked the other.
That’s the mainstream media in 2017 – saying you didn’t do something definitely means you did; lauding the progress of your administration is “servile” and “humiliating.”