Rex Is Out and Rocket Man Is in, Or So It Seems in Trump World

In the scrum of American politics, Rex Tillerson didn't last long. After little more than a year, the secretary of State is now out even as the world is still absorbing the news from last week that President Donald Trump decided on the fly to personally meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un later this year. The world moves pretty fast, but before we all get lost in the details of why Rex is out and why the man Trump derisively calls Rocket Man is in, or at least on the president's personal dance card, let's consider what the secretary's of State's departure means. In Tillerson — the former CEO of ExxonMobil — the president had someone who world leaders respected and that sober-minded Americans came to believe was a steady hand in an unsteady administration. Those lines might sound like filler, but here is why they are important: It is essential for Americans to have confidence in top officials if they are also to have confidence in our foreign policy. There is a tendency in this country to turn inward even as circumstances require engaging the world. And a lack of trust in those at the top only feeds those tendencies. If Americans were just getting the presidency they were promised when they elected Trump, we might say that elections have consequences and move on. But there is a larger point here. Tillerson had become a check on the president's tweet-driven impulses. He served the president best by serving the country well.  Continue reading...

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