Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

Rex Tillerson a no-show at the United Nations

The Secretary of State has either missed or refused to attend a number of UN meetings with foreign delegations

Matthew Rozsa
September 19, 2017 9:12PM (UTC)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is, once again, facing criticism for the perception that he isn't doing enough to fulfill his duties as America's top diplomat.

The latest Tillersonian controversy pertains to his inadequate presence at the United Nations this week, according to NBC News. Three senior State Department officials told NBC that Tillerson either skipped or ignored a number of meetings with foreign delegations during the General Assembly, resulting in either United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley or Vice President Mike Pence appearing in his stead. Meanwhile Trump's national security adviser, H. R. McMaster, appeared by President Donald Trump's side during UN meetings on Monday.


On a broader level, Tillerson has continued to leave many important State Department positions unfilled, while seven American diplomats and four foreign diplomats told NBC that the perception that Tillerson plays little role in crafting Trump's foreign policy has reduced the State Department's clout overseas.

Tillerson's lackluster tenure at the State Department has raised eyebrows almost from the moment he took office. In June, he announced that it wasn't likely the State Department would be fully staffed until 2018, although that didn't stop him from complaining in July that the State Department was "not a highly disciplined organization."

In addition to concerns over his performance, Tillerson has also been controversial because of his connections to the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin. This included bragging about having a "very close relationship with Putin" in 2016 and striking a $500 billion deal with a Russian state-owned oil company, Rosneft, when he was CEO of ExxonMobil in 2011.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Donald Trump Mike Pence Nikki Haley Rex Tillerson

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