The Foolishness of Firing Rex Tillerson

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Rex Tillerson never stood a chance. From day one, President Trump has undermined him on Twitter, criticized him publicly, and prevented him from having a seat at the table with foreign leaders. When the news broke of his firing, I wasn’t surprised. But, I am deeply disturbed.

Yesterday’s firing is the strongest indication that this White House is in a perpetual and complete state of chaos. Hardly a year in and already nearly forty members of the Trump Administration have been fired or resigned. As the number of senior administration departures grow, my concerns grow, too – particularly as a Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. American diplomacy and leadership have been essential to the maintenance of global stability in the modern era. But, this is a fragile peace. “Chaos theory” is not a leadership strategy. Rather, it is a recipe for instability that, on the global stage, hurts our allies, weakens our relationships, and empowers our adversaries.

It’s no secret that I disagreed with Secretary Tillerson’s approach at the State Department. I’ve been highly critical of his management decisions, his failure to consult with senior diplomatic officials or members of the press, and his complicity in cutting critical staff and billions of dollars from the department’s budget. I believe that Secretary Tillerson’s policies undermined important diplomatic efforts and led too many to question U.S. global leadership. But, I take no pleasure in seeing him depart and in hearing how the President handled this transition. And we all know it was Tillerson’s lack of synchronicity with the President that is most to blame for his ineffectiveness.

I wish Mr. Pompeo luck and look forward to working with him in hopes of re-empowering the State Department. No matter his capabilities, however, I fear that this President lacks the temperament to work successfully with any Secretary of State.

This man who has no public experience, nonetheless foreign policy experience, promised us all he would surround himself with the “smartest people.” But, thus far he refuses to listen to anyone with an opposing viewpoint.

How our world looks after the Trump Presidency is anyone’s guess, but it is becoming increasingly clear that President Trump’s behavior will have grave implications for American leadership and global peace.