GODDAMMIT. We were all excited because it appears Donald Trump has nominated an actual grown adult to be his national security adviser, and we’ve been pinning our hopes on the idea that at least three whole people in the Trump administration are grown-ups. Not Betsy DeVos. Not Ben Carson, once he’s confirmed. James Mattis at the Defense Department is one, sorta kinda. And we thought that even though Secretary of
Exxon State Rex Tillerson subsists entirely on a diet of Russian oil, he also sorta kinda might be a grown-up. So this thing in Reuters is making us all disappointed and sad:
One of Rex Tillerson’s first directives as U.S. secretary of state was an order to senior staff that his briefing materials not exceed two pages.
Bloody hell, can somebody ship one million copies of Hooked On Phonics to Washington?
We had been encouraged by how Tillerson was on the other side of the issues from former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, a member of the vaguely sane group that MIGHT MAYBE keep Trump from starting a nuclear war with whatever country most recently made fun of his mini-hands. For instance, Vox published these words last week:
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appears to have a similar agenda to Mattis’s. He was endorsed by foreign policy stalwarts like former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, people who deeply support maintaining the foreign policy status quo. In his confirmation hearings, Tillerson expressed opposition to some of the more radical Trump ideas (like moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and tearing up the Iran deal).
But now we learn he has an important thing in common with Trump, and it is that READING STUFF IS HARD AND BAD.
But wait, Reuters says maybe it is because he is “efficient” and a “CEO,” and that is why he’s not allowed to read more than two pages at a time about Trump’s master foreign policy plans to put emoluments in his own fanny while making sure Vladimir Putin gets a happy ending. At least that’s what we figure State Department briefings are about under the Trump regime.
But maybe it is OK, because Reuters says “senior State Department officials” think Tillerson is “sociable and a man of substance”! But maybe it is not OK, because Donald Trump is a lazy do-nothing who can’t be bothered to staff his government, fires people for the tiniest slights, and specifically, Foggy Bottom ain’t got no staff, because Trump has fired all of them. Back to Reuters:
Just two State Department positions of 116 key posts requiring executive branch nomination have been filled, according to the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service – Tillerson’s and that of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
For example, Tillerson still has no deputy after Trump rejected his top choice, Elliott Abrams.
“People want to back him,” one veteran senior official said about the former Exxon Mobil boss. “But people are feeling that this building is being stripped,” said the official, referring to a sense that with so many top positions vacant, the State Department is not fully equipped to help make policy in the new administration.
TWO! OUT OF ONE-HUNDRED-SIXTEEN! DRAIN THE SWAMP!
But on the other hand, maybe it’s OK and Tillerson has all kinds of access to rein Trump in. Reportedly, he had a hand in getting Donald Trump to acknowledge America’s longstanding position on the “One China” policy! What a relief! On the other other hand, maybe that’s just smoke mirrors and Trump changed course on that because China did emoluments to him.
Oh, and Reuters says that when Trump decided he didn’t care all that much about a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, Tillerson wasn’t consulted, and he found out from the news the same way Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did. To be clear, Tillerson was having dinner with Netanyahu at the time.
Everything is fine, we’re all gonna die.
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