Some thoughts on the Tillerson story today. I was enthusiastic about the Tillerson pick in the beginning precisely because he wasn’t a conventional pick, not someone from the usual party establishment, but with considerable global experience from running ExxonMobil. His status as a big league (or is it “bigly”?) executive would appeal to Trump, though perhaps Tillerson’s personal strength was part of the problem, since news stories say he and Trump didn’t get along from the beginning.
This reminds me of Reagan’s first secretary of state, Al Haig, who looked like a great pick for Reagan on paper. They had spent a very congenial afternoon together in 1979 as Reagan was looking ahead, immediately after which Reagan told his senior advisers he wanted Haig in his cabinet if he won the election. But they didn’t get along from the very start—literally they had their first sharp divergence on inauguration day in 1981—and Reagan was glad to be rid of him by July 1982, a tenure at Foggy Bottom not much longer than Tillerson now. Leaks of the friction between Reagan and Haig were legion in 1981 and the spring of 1982. Some times things just don’t work out as you thought they would.
Meanwhile, I’m skeptical of the reporting this morning about how Tillerson found out about his sacking from a Trump tweet rather than directly. I don’t doubt that this is true, but it is also being reported that Trump asked for Tillerson’s resignation on Friday. If that is true, I have a hunch that the news was about to leak out this morning, so Trump and his folks decided to pull the trigger right away. But that’s not how the hair-on-fire media is going to represent the story.