(AP/Ivan Sekretarev)

Rex Tillerson may be thinking about leaving the Trump administration early

Because of the way Trump's White House is handling affairs, Rex Tillerson's time may end sooner than thought


Charlie May
July 25, 2017 6:03PM (UTC)

Top foreign policy officials in President Donald Trump's administration have grown frustrated with "policy and bureaucratic defeats" and have complained "they lack independence to do their jobs," officials have told Reuters. And, as the White House continues to distance itself from the rest of the government, Republicans were also displeased at the president's recent criticisms of his Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson planned to last at least through the end of the year as the nation's top diplomat, but that goal has grown increasingly bleak as he has told friends he would be lucky to make it that long. Sources familiar with the situation told Reuters that Tillerson has been "very upset at not having autonomy, independence and control over his own department and the ability to do the job the way the job . . .  is traditionally done."

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"The situation doesn't seem to be getting any better, and in some respects appears to be getting worse," the source told Reuters. Tillerson's spokesman, R.C. Hammond attempted to downplay the reported tension, saying that Tillerson had "plenty of reasons to stay on the job, and all of them are important to America," Reuters reported.

"There's a desperate need for American leadership in the world and that's where the secretary's focusing his attention," he added.

Tillerson faced heavy internal criticism last week from chief strategist Steve Bannon, as well as White House aide Sebastian Gorka, after "the administration certified, albeit reluctantly, that Iran was complying with the 2015 nuclear deal under which Tehran agreed to restrain its atomic program in exchange for sanctions relief," Reuters reported.

"The secretary does not feel that White House staff members should be in a position to conduct hostile cross-(examinations) of Cabinet officials," a U.S. official told Reuters.

Tillerson, however, is not alone in his annoyance with the White House. Trump's national security adviser H.R. McMaster "was frustrated by what he sees as disorganization and indiscipline on key policy issues inside the White House," according to Reuters. McMaster "was dismayed that his recommendations, backed by his senior director for Russia, Fiona Hill, about taking a tough stance with Russian President Vladimir Putin, had been ignored," Reuters reported.


Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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