Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly took out his frustrations on a White House aide Friday after experiencing delays in getting his appointments for State Department positions approved.
Tillerson erupted on Johnny DeStefano, the head of the presidential personnel office, because the White House has denied several of Tillerson’s appointments, in addition to questioning his judgement, Politico reported.
An unnamed source also told Politico that Tillerson accused the White House of leaking potentially damaging information about him to the press.
The secretary of state said that he didn’t want DeStefano’s office to “have any role in staffing” and “expressed frustration that anybody would know better” than him about which individuals would be appropriate to work in his department, according to the source.
The former Exxon CEO’s frustration also stemmed from the fact that President Donald Trump reportedly promised him the autonomy to decide for himself who would be on his staff.
The outburst occurred in the office of White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, but other members of the Trump administration were present as well, including senior adviser to the president Jared Kushner and Tillerson’s chief of staff Margaret Peterlin.
Kushner later told Peterlin that Tillerson’s outburst was unprofessional and that a solution was needed to resolve the issue.
“Colleagues are capable of frank exchanges,” State Department spokesman R.C. Hammond told Politico.
“Evaluating nominees did get off to a slow start, but it is now moving along at a pretty good clip,” he said.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 28, 2017
A close associate of Rex Tillerson told Mark Perry of The American Conservative that Tillerson is upset because the White House and State Department do not appear to be on the same page.
This is especially so regarding the Middle East situation, the associate claimed, where Kushner is “running a second foreign policy out of the White House family quarters.”
“Rex is just exhausted. He can’t get any of his appointments approved and is running around the world cleaning up after a president whose primary foreign policy adviser is a 36-year-old amateur,” the associate said.
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