Rex Tillerson arrival at the White House in 2017 following his appointment by the then just inaugurated US president, Donald Trump was more than least expected; it wasn’t even imagined but it was a reality. A reality trailed by a handful of contentions and controversies.
The former energy man was appointed Secretary of State on February 1, 2017, by the Senate of the United States of America. He resigned from his position as the C.E.O of ExxonMobil Corporation in December 2016 to take on his new position in the government after he was recommended by the one time Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice a month earlier to the incoming president, Donald Trump.
This recommendation was surprising as Rex Tillerson had never held any political or military posts formerly. However, his recommendation was also supported by former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates. His nomination was submitted to the Senate by President Trump on January 20, 2017, and was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 10-12 on the 23rd of the same month.
Prior to this approval, news making the rounds revealed that Tillerson was at the top of the list of candidates for the position and stood favorably against his rivals Mitt Romney and David Petraeus. Rex may appear as a man of luck, with his unexpected recommendation, nomination and support. In addition to his other advocators, were a chief strategist in the White House, Steve Bannon and special adviser to Donald Trump, Jared Kushner.
He was sworn in as the Secretary of State by the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence after he was elected by 56 members of the Senate – all the 52 Republican party members voted in support of him alongside 3 others from the Democrats and an Independent. He had an unusual number of votes against him, rounding up to 42 Senate members.
After his swearing-in, he made his first foreign trip to Germany, where he met with a couple of foreign ministers from different countries. He had several other trips and meetings with both internal and external stakeholders as his tenure progressed. Aside from his several journeys, his time in office was also swamped with a revolutionary change in Department of State that included the letting off of a large number of diplomats. His actions were lauded and considered as setting the right tone for diplomats.
Did Rex Tillerson Resign? Why Was He Fired?
Despite his efforts in office, Rex Tillerson was dismissed on March 31, 2018, which entered the history books as one of the shortest tenures a Secretary of State has had in office. Although he contemplated resigning when he fell out with the president, he was dissuaded by the vice president, Mike Pence. However, his feud with Trump ended in his dismissal and replacement.
Trouble started in the relationship between the Secretary of State and Mr President a few months after their ascension to office. One of such disagreement was the alleged name-calling of the president. Participants in the meeting that held on July 20, 2017 which had in attendance the Secretary and the President, told the media that the former either called the President a ‘moron’ or a ‘fucking moron’ after the latter demanded for a ten-fold increase of the U.S nuclear arsenals which would require a lot of dollars and an unreasonable amount of time to accomplish.
Tillerson was also at loggerheads with Donald Trump and the White House with regards to the negotiations with North Korea. Tension rose between the two countries between 2017 and 2018 with rumors of a nuclear war between the two nations making the headlines in those periods. North Korea was said to be provoking the U.S government by the flagrant display of their nuclear arsenals and missile tests close to the US territory and while Tillerson was brewing for peaceful and open dialogue, the White House demanded that North Korea first abandon their nuclear weapons before any negotiations will ensue, which led to Donald Trump describing Rex Tillerson’s efforts as a waste of time.
Asides this disagreement, another rose from the alleged interference of Russia in the Trump campaign and election. Tillerson was of the opinion that Russia was involved in the elections and Trump, who had always maintained an adjacent view to this, was not happy with his man over the issue.
All these issues and the fact that the two politicians could not see eye to eye on several issues led to his firing. In an interview conducted few months after his dismissal, Rex Tillerson revealed that he understood what the President wanted, but told him it couldn’t be done that way and is of the opinion that Trump became tired of him and had to let him go. It was also alarming that Rex Tillerson received the news of his dismissal and replacement through a tweet on March 31, 2018.
What Is He Doing Now?
Currently, it is safe to say that the former Secretary of State is enjoying his retirement days as there is no information on any other work involvements for the Republican. His last public appearance was at the Houston Fundraising where he granted media an interview.