The 69th U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has revealed he will embark on a trip to Africa in the first quarter of 2018 despite rumors that Donald Trump is set to relieve him of his duties.
According to a report from Reuters, information on Tillerson’s scheduled visit was revealed on Wednesday, amid speculations that the senior aide is no longer a perfect fit for the highly challenging political office.
Image: Rex Tillerson
The editorial board of USA Today wrote in today’s publication that so much damage has been done to American diplomacy under Tillerson’s watch.
Having condoned repeated humiliations from President Donald Trump, media analysts are worried that the office of U.S. Secretary of State no longer holds true authority.
Last October, Tillerson commenced diplomatic talks with North Korea over rising tensions in the region, and Mr. Trump slammed his efforts in a Twitter post which read: “He is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.”
Though Mr. President’s outrage was meant to demean DPRK’s supreme leader Kim Jong Un, his comments did undermine the legal powers vested on Tillerson as a chief diplomat.
“Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!” Trump added in his call for preemptive attack on the rogue state which now boasts of having far-reaching nuclear warheads.
Earlier on Wednesday, Tillerson refuted media reports that Trump was about relieving him of his duties. CIA chief Mike Pompeo was identified as his replacement.
Directly addressing the issue at a news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Tillerson said the rumors making rounds as he toured Europe in a week-long trip were all lies.
A large number of Americans are calling for his sack as allies clamor for stability in U.S. foreign policy.
Senior adviser to the U.S. government R.C. Hammond told reporters at Germany’s Ramstein Air Base, “Secretary Tillerson is planning a trip to Africa in the first quarter of 2018.”
The update from Hammond implies Tillerson will retain his position as Secretary of State contrary to media speculations. He made the comments during a stopover en route to Vienna where the U.S. Secretary of State is due to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov today for discussions on how to contain North Korea and other issues.
In Tillerson’s opinion, the relations between America and Russia will never return to normalcy until Vladimir Putin‘s government withdraws its support for separatists in Ukraine and return the Crimea region it annexed in 2014.
Meanwhile, USA Today described the last 10 months as America’s worst experience from any previous Secretary of State. The diplomat is running dangerously low in top-tier experts, particularly because no political representative has been nominated to serve as assistant secretary of State for South Asia, where the Afghanistan conflict enters its 17th year; or Near Eastern Affairs, where the Syrian civil war rages on; or East Asia, where tensions over North Korea edge toward war.
“We expressed reservations back in January about Tillerson as secretary of State — a man with zero government or military experience, whose chief credential was running an oil company,” the news outlet wrote, calling on the diplomat to resign for the sake of America’s position in global affairs.
Under Tillerson’s tenure, all ambassadors seem to be holding positions only in empty in hot-zone nations such as Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Turkey.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright wrote in The Washington Post, “If the U.S. military were facing a recruitment and retention crisis of this magnitude, few would hesitate to call it a national security emergency.”