It’s the tale of two Tillersons.
Nearly a month into his tenure as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson is winning over foreign governments but alienating many employees at the agency he leads and raising questions about his ability to wield power in Washington.
Meanwhile, Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a top adviser, is emerging as a shadow secretary of state — a key interlocutor with world leaders and ambassadors and the keeper of prized diplomatic files like the Middle East peace process. Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief political strategist, has also taken on an outsized role in formulating foreign policy.
Tillerson is still lacking much of his senior staff and, according to two sources familiar with the discussions, is in a struggle with the White House over choosing appointments after President Donald Trump vetoed his choice for deputy secretary. Questions about Tillerson’s influence have spilled out into the open. Media reports that he has been marginalized abound, including a blistering New York Times editorial titled “Calling Secretary Tillerson.” And the perception among the State Department rank-and-file is chilling.
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