More than three hours before calling Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to tell him he was being fired from his position, President Donald Trump publicly announced Tillerson’s firing in a tweet.
“Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job!” With that tweet, once again, Trump demonstrated two things. First, he has no loyalty to those who serve in his administration. Second, he has no class.
Seriously! Who announces in a public tweet plans to fire someone before talking to the employee being fired? Trump does that. He appears incapable of empathy or compassion toward anyone, including his family (read his three wives), friends and staff.
Trump did the same thing to FBI Director James Comey. While Comey was in California speaking to FBI agents, he saw on a television in the room that he had been terminated. A notice of termination was delivered from the White House to Comey’s office in Washington that night. No call from his boss. No class.
Actually, Tillerson should be feeling pretty good. After all, he held on to his job for 14 months. While this is one of the shortest tenures for a secretary of state in the history of the United States, it is a pretty good run by today’s White House standards under the Trump administration. As in the land of Oz, people come and go so quickly in Trump’s White House.
Trump stated that he wanted to replace Tillerson so that he could have “a new team in place” for the historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. According to Tillerson, he was not told by Trump that the president would be announcing a potential meeting with Kim Jong Un before Trump made the announcement. Then again, according to multiple sources, many of Trump’s top staff were unaware of Trump’s decision on North Korea.
Ironically, it was Tillerson who had been trying for months to open diplomatic communications between North Korea and the United States. In October 2017 when Tillerson was pushing for direct talks between the United States and North Korea, Trump undermined his secretary’s efforts by tweeting that Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.” Then, five months later, without consulting with his secretary, Trump surprised everyone and announced that he would meet with Kim Jong Un after all.
Paul Waldman, writer for The Week, believes Trump thrives on chaos and “prefers gut instinct to careful planning, he keeps everybody confused and uncertain, and therefore (supposedly) on their toes.”
I believe that Tillerson was initially selected to be secretary of state by Trump because of his extensive connections to the Russian government. As chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil, Tillerson had extensive work in Russia, especially with Russian oil companies. He was honored by Russian President Vladimir Putin personally with one of Russia’s highest civilian honors. Some media reports have stated that Putin preferred Tillerson over former Gov. Mitt Romney, under serious consideration for the secretary of state position, and that is the reason Trump decided to go with Tillerson. According to some reports, the Russian government thought Romney would be too hard on them. Sound familiar?
Why was Tillerson removed at this time? A day before his firing, Tillerson put out a statement that held Russia responsible for the poisoning of a former Russian spy (and his daughter) in Britain. This put him at odds with the initial White House statement which, interestingly, did not state that Russia was responsible for the poisoning.
Trump’s refusal to attack Putin has been noticed around the world. The headline in The Mirror, a British newspaper, read “Donald Trump Sacks Rex Tillerson a Day After the Secretary of State Blasts Russia Over Spy Poisoning.” In Russia, journalist Olga Skabeeva announced on state television, “Yesterday Tillerson supported Theresa May in her ‘highly likely’ Russian accusation. And Trump immediately fired him. Trump is ours!”
Last week, the Trump administration finally leveled sanctions on Russia in response to their meddling in the 2016 presidential elections. But the sanctions were significantly weaker than those recommended by Congress months ago. Also, there was no critical statement from Trump.
American intelligence agencies released a security alert last Thursday stating that, Russian hackers continue their efforts to penetrate multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation and manufacturing. Russia is actively attacking the United States. “Even so,” stated Frida Ghitis for CNN, “the president, who finds no adjective too offensive, no threat too outlandish when dealing with others, continues to handle Russia with kid gloves.”
“Trump is ours!” It sure seems that way. The question, of course, is why?