Sunday, March 26, 2017

Jennifer Rubin: Tone-deaf Tillerson isn’t doing his job

Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post (March 23); posted at.

image (not from article) from

We have heard the excuses over and over on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's behalf. He's new at this. He's getting his feet wet. He's not used to press scrutiny. Frankly, neither he nor his defenders are helping his cause at this point.
The latest was his declaration that "I didn't want this job. I didn't seek this job." He made the remark to Erin McPike, the sole journalist allowed to accompany him on his flight to Asia. "My wife told me I'm supposed to do this." He added, according to the report, "I was supposed to retire in March, this month. I was going to go to the ranch to be with my grandkids." Perhaps he intended this as a humble brag, but the tone came across as self-pitying and crabby. (In effect, he seems to be telling us: How dare you criticize me when I didn't have to serve you people.)
This came after his assertion that "I am not a big press media access person. I personally don't need it." Well, someone should break it to him that this is not about him; it's about the accountability we expect of high-ranking officials in a democracy. Right Turn readers would never accuse me of fondness for the Obama State Department, but I could not agree more with the remarks of one of its members quoted by McPike:
"We didn't see public diplomacy and giving access to reporters as a disadvantage. We saw them as part of the responsibility you have in a democracy to keep the public informed about decisions being made in their name. We saw them as opportunities to explain and advance our agenda. And we saw them as an important example to set for parts of the world where such transparency is unfortunately rare. In other words, we didn't see these things as weaknesses, but as a source of strength."
That sentiment, so self-evidently true to anyone in public office, seems entirely alien to Tillerson. ...

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