Is Rex Tillerson quitting?
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson may be considering resigning from his role, CNN reported with reference to several anonymous sources "familiar with Tillerson conversations with friends outside Washington".
Tillerson has found himself undermined by US President Donald Trump, who openly contradicts him and appears disinterested in the work of Tillerson's team of career diplomats at the state department.
Though the former CEO of ExxonMobil Corp. has said that he would stay on as the top U.S. diplomat until the end of the year at least, sources said that he might leave earlier than that.
Sources admit the secretary of State may just be venting, but they sense his doubts about President Donald Trump are growing. "His frustration is hardly a secret and it has spilled out publicly at times," CNN reported.
The sources say Tillerson was especially troubled by Trump’s recent New York Times interview, in which he lamented hiring Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Tillerson reportedly saw the comments – in which Trump called Sessions “unfair” for recusing himself from the Justice Department's Russia probe – as unprofessional.
“Rexit,” as CNN's sources referred to it, would mark another change in an administration currently in the middle of a shakeup.
The director of the Roosevelt Fund of Study of the US at Moscow State University, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Yuri Rogulev, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, in the first place noted that the US Secretary of State has enough problems now.
"First of all, many vacancies in the State Department are unfilled. Second, Tillerson is negotiating directly on many issues, so he may have a different opinion from President Trump. But still it does not mean that he will resign. I think this publication is of semi-provocative nature," the expert explained.
At the same time, he stressed that the first six months of Tillerson's work turned out to be ineffective, since he simply has not had enough employees.
He also expressed doubt that Tillerson's hypothetical withdrawal will negatively affect Russian-US relations. "They are already at a fairly low level, and their further deterioration is unlikely. If Tillerson quits, much will depend on the person Donald Trump will represent," the expert said.
At the same time, he pointed out that the post of Secretary of State is the third most important state post in the United States. "His role, of course, is extremely great in the formation and implementation of politics. Trump came from business, he was never a team man. In this sense, indeed, there can be certain contradictions," Yury Rogulev concluded.
A senior research fellow at the European Research Centre of the International Relations Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Olenchenko, in turn, noted that an allegation about possible resignation of Tillerson was spread by CNN - the most important and hardest critic of Trump.
"It seems to me that Tillerson seems a thorough, conscientious and competent person. And his activities show that Trump allows him to act on his own. From his interviews I read, I realized that if he put his goal, he will achieve it," Vladimir Olenchenko said, adding that those circles that are behind CNN, certainly have some kind of candidacy that would suit them more than Tillerson.
The senior research fellow at the European Research Centre of the International Relations Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences noted that Tillerson's possible departure would seriously weaken Trump's reputation: "Originally Flynn (Michael Flynn - VK) was an adviser, of course, he was a very strong figure. McMaster (Herbert McMaster - VK), who came to take his place, was, of course, weaker. However, in this situation, if those circles provoke Tillerson's resignation, they apparently hope that a less strong figure will be appointed," the expert said.
Answering the question of how Tillerson's withdrawal could affect Russian-US relations, the analyst noted that while there is no any serious trend towards their improvement, so it is difficult to give any assessment. "As for Tillerson's job as secretary of state, look at the list of countries he visited: it causes respect. Second, we should not forget that his meetings and contacts always preceded the meetings and contacts of Donald Trump. So I think that Trump must be very pleased with him, and since Trump is satisfied, it means his opponents are dissatisfied," Vladimir Olenchenko concluded.