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Trump will hamstring Tillerson at US State Department

Monday, July 17, 2017

Significance

Tillerson was initially viewed as one in a troika of stability-minded officials with more orthodox views on foreign policy than President Donald Trump, along with Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Advisor HR McMaster. However, in recent months Tillerson has been sidelined on policy formation and contradicted on messaging by the White House, raising questions about the former oil executive’s role within the administration.

Impacts

  • UN Ambassador Nikki Haley will offer a more traditional Republican critique of authoritarian regimes, but her voice remains marginal.
  • White House refusal to appoint former Trump critics to the State Department will leave Tillerson with few internal allies.
  • Bipartisan support in Congress for foreign aid and instability concerns will scupper the proposal to merge USAID with the State Department.
  • However, Congress is likely to pass budget cuts for State and USAID, albeit at a less extreme level than the White House proposes.
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