Rex Tillerson

Report: Tillerson pushes for Israel to return millions in U.S. aid

Featured image Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly has been pushing the Trump White House to demand that Israel give back to the United States millions of dollars in military aid. The Trump White House reportedly is pushing back on this demand. So are members of Congress, including our friend Sen. Tom Cotton. Here’s the back story, as I understand it. Last year, President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu signed a Memorandum »

Tea for the Tillerson

Featured image Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace yesterday. Video of the entire 13-minute interview is embedded below. Tillerson made news in one respect that belies his standing in the Trump administration. Asked about President Trump’s response to the “racial protests in Charlottesville” (at 11:25) and a UN committee statement condemning the response, Tillerson responded in part: “I don’t believe anyone doubts the American people’s »

Tillerson contradicts Trump on Afghanistan

Featured image In his speech last night, President Trump vowed to win in Afghanistan. He declared, “We will always win.” He also said, “I’m a problem-solver, and in the end, we will win.” In addition,there was this: “The men and women who serve our nation in combat deserve a plan for victory. They deserve the tools they need and the trust they have earned to fight and to win.” Today, Secretary of »

A “Rooney Rule” for ambassador openings

Featured image Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced yesterday that “every time we have an opening for an ambassador position, at least one of the candidates must be a minority candidate.” This is a version of the Rooney Rule used by the NFL to fill coaching vacancies. It’s named after former Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney. Ironically, Rooney was U.S. ambassador to Ireland during the Obama administration. He gained that post the »

Tillerson declines to host Ramadan event at State Dept. (for now)

Featured image Reuters reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has declined a request to host an event to mark Ramadan. Reuters cites two U.S. officials. The State Department has been hosting such dinners for two decades. The practice began in 1998 under Madeleine Albright. Tillerson issued a statement on Friday to mark the start of Ramadan. He called it “a month of reverence, generosity, and self-reflection.” “Most importantly,” he added, “it »

“Not my first sword dance”

Featured image Appearing from Riyadh on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace this morning, Secretary Tillerson fielded a slightly offbeat question and responded with what (outside President Trump’s speech) may have been the quote of the day (transcript here). Wallace asked Tillerson about the traditional Arab sword dance in which he participated upon his arrival yesterday. “And I have to tell you,” Wallace commented, “you looked pretty good while you were doing »

What is the Trump administration’s Syria policy?

Featured image I think I understand the Trump administration’s Syria policy. In western Syria, we will assist the forces fighting against ISIS; in eastern Syria, we will enforce former president Obama’s alleged red line on chemical weapons, but otherwise stay out of the fight. However, statements yesterday from top Trump administration officials make me wonder about the second prong of its Syria policy, thus understood. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the »

Sens. McCain and Graham will support Tillerson [UPDATE: Rubio, Too]

Featured image Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have announced that they will vote to confirm Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. With these two votes, Tilleson’s confirmation becomes a near certainty. Among Republicans, Senator Marco Rubio appears to be the only holdout. The Florida man tore into Tillerson at the confirmation hearing but has not said how he will vote. Even if Rubio votes “no,” Tillerson should receive 51 votes. With »

Rex Tillerson comes under fire from Sen. Rubio [UPDATED] [more from Rubio]

Featured image I watched the first hour and a half of Rex Tillerson’s confirmation hearing before switching to Donald Trump’s news conference. Tillerson is an impressive witness and, I think it’s reasonable to assume, an extremely impressive man. His answers and manner of speaking stand in wonderful contrast to the man he will succeed (if confirmed) — John “Foghorn” Kerry. Tillerson is plainspoken, gives short answers when feasible, and likes to use »