How the State Department is Undermining Trump’s Agenda

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 October 21, 2017|
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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has isolated himself from his own department and allowed subordinates to fill a handful of top positions with people who actively opposed Donald Trump’s election, according to current and former State Department officials and national security experts with specific knowledge of the situation.

News reports often depict a White House “in chaos.” But the real chaos, according to three State Department employees who spoke with American Greatness on the condition of anonymity, is at Foggy Bottom.

Rumors have circulated for months that Tillerson either plans to resign or is waiting for the president to fire him. The staffers describe an amateur secretary of state who has “checked out” and effectively removed himself from major decision making.

Hundreds of Empty Desks
About 200 State Department jobs require Senate confirmation. But the Senate cannot confirm nominees it does not have. More than nine months into the new administration, most of the senior State Department positions—assistant and deputy assistant secretary posts—remain unfilled.

What’s more, the United States currently has no ambassador to the European Union, or to key allies such as France, Germany, Australia, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia. Meantime, Obama Administration holdovers remain ensconced in the department and stationed at embassies in the Balkans, Africa, and the Middle East.

The leadership vacuum has been filled by a small group opposed to the president’s “America First” agenda.

At the heart of the problem, these officials say, are the two people closest to Tillerson: chief of staff Margaret Peterlin and senior policy advisor Brian Hook, who runs the State Department’s in-house think tank.

Peterlin and Hook are longtime personal friends who current staffers say are running the department like a private fiefdom for their benefit and in opposition to the president and his stated policies.

‘Boxing Out’ Trump Supporters
The lack of staffing gives the duo unprecedented power over State Department policy. Since joining Tillerson’s team, Peterlin and Hook
have created a tight bottleneck, separating the 75,000 State Department staffers—true experts in international relations—from the secretary. As the New York Times reported in August, “all decisions, no matter how trivial, must be sent to Mr. Tillerson or his top aides: Margaret Peterlin, his chief of staff, and Brian Hook, the director of policy planning.” In practice, however, that has meant Peterlin and Hook make the decisions.

More important, sources who spoke with American Greatness say, Peterlin and Hook have stymied every effort by pro-Trump policy officials to get jobs at the State Department.

Margaret Peterlin

Margaret Peterlin

“Peterlin is literally sitting on stacks of résumés,” one national security expert told American Greatness. Together, Peterlin and Hook are “boxing out anyone who supports Trump’s foreign policy agenda,” he added.

Peterlin, an attorney and former Commerce Department official in the George W. Bush Administration, was hired to help guide political appointments through the vetting and confirmation process. She reportedly bonded with Tillerson during his confirmation hearings, and he hired her as his chief of staff.

Brian Hook

Brian Hook

Peterlin then brought in Hook, who co-founded the John Hay Initiative, a group of former Mitt Romney foreign-policy advisors who publicly refused to support Trump because he would “act in ways that make America less safe.” In a May 2016 profile of NeverTrump Republicans, Hook told Politico, “Even if you say you support him as the nominee, you go down the list of his positions and you see you disagree on every one.”

Hook now directs the department’s Office of Policy Planning, responsible for churning out policy briefs and helping to shape the nation’s long-term strategic agenda.

NeverTrumpers on Parade
In September, Peterlin and Hook hired David Feith, a former Wall Street Journal editorial writer and the son of Douglas J. Feith, one of the architects of the Iraq War. Feith shares with Peterlin and Hook a deep dislike for President Trump. Feith, according to one State Department employee with knowledge of the hire, had been rejected by the White House precisely because of his opposition to the president and his policies. Peterlin and Hook forced him through anyway.

Incredibly, even the State Department’s spokesman, R.C. Hammond, was an outspoken NeverTrumper before the election, frequently tweeting jibes and barbs at the candidate. Hammond, a former aide to Newt Gingrich, is now the face and one of the leading voices of U.S. public diplomacy.

Many of these anti-Trump hires have occurred in the face of a hiring freeze Tillerson imposed earlier this year following an executive order to review agency and department staffing, along with the White House’s request to cut the State Department’s budget by 30 percent. But rather than put a check on untrustworthy career bureaucrats, the move had the opposite effect of empowering the president’s opponents.

State’s anti-Trump climate has shut out several top-notch foreign policy hands.

Kiron Skinner, founding director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University and a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, worked on Trump’s national security transition team and was hired as a senior policy advisor. She was considered for the job Hook now has in the Office of Policy Planning. But she was isolated from career staffers and quit after a few days.

At least Skinner managed to get into the building. Another former Reagan Administration staffer with decades of experience in U.S.-Russian affairs and international economics had spent months in 2016 campaigning for the president in critical battleground states, including Pennsylvania and Ohio. As soon as Trump won the election, this experienced analyst and several other pro-Trump associates were passed over for State Department jobs. It’s to the point that even internship candidates are being rejected if they volunteered for the Trump campaign.

Tillerson or No, Personnel is Policy
When he agreed to take the top diplomat’s job, Tillerson reportedly asked President Trump for autonomy‚ and got it. Unfortunately, his leadership style has changed from his days running ExxonMobil. In his definitive history of ExxonMobil, journalist Steve Coll described Tillerson’s approach as open and informal. By contrast, Tillerson’s modus operandi at state has been described as isolated, unapproachable, even “draconian.”  

In government today, the maxim that “personnel is policy” is truer than ever. As a result, the State Department mirrors the management style not of its leader, but of Tillerson’s chief aides who are at odds with the president’s stated foreign policy agenda.

Tillerson this week told the Wall Street Journal he would remain on the job “as long as the president thinks I’m useful.” But whether it’s Tillerson behind the secretary’s desk, or CIA Director Mike Pompeo, or any other foreign policy hand, a State Department staffed with opponents of the president is hardly useful to Americans who voted to reject the failed foreign policies of the past two administrations.

President Trump made “draining the swamp” a cornerstone of his campaign. How can he drain the swamp if the swamp dwellers control his administration and drown out voices of his most innovative supporters?

Chris Buskirk, Brandon Weichert, and Ben Boychuk contributed to this story. Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

About the Author:

The Editors
  • BCML

    Everything about Trump is surrounded with insanity, incompetence, corruption, turmoil, and conflict. I guess when you elect a sociopathic caveman you get this kind of lunacy.

    • Randall Ward

      Do you work for the State Department?

      • BCML

        Do you work for the White House?

  • DB

    TRUMP ~ PENCE 2020

  • Bobby Tolbert

    Why do’s Trump make so many emenys

    • Anne Miller

      Do you mean “enemas”?

      • Bobby Tolbert

        yeah, I guess I spelt it wrong.

  • NYY32311

    Absent from the article – a single Trump agenda item the foggy bottom failures have actually undermined or scuttled which would support the article cornerstone of “personnel is policy.”

    • Victor

      There’s a lot missing here on the credibility front. If you click on The Editors to get a description you get this:

      About The Editors
      This author has not yet filled in any details.
      So far The Editors has created 72 blog entries.

      This is the new real news? Anonymous bloggers quoting anonymous sources and getting linked to by Breitbart as a headline story?

      • CaptSmith415

        Do the writers at American Greatness have day jobs? They might be looking for permanent work.

      • NYY32311

        Exactly – artificial conflict created for click bait.

        MAGA!

  • Foggy Bottom policy nobodies trying to undercut a sitting US president?

    http://radgeek.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/shockedshocked.jpg

    Nothing new under the sun. Not for nothing did Truman complain about the “striped-pants boys” at State.

    • D4x

      Helloo Doppelganger! I was just about to post this when you appeared:

      Very disappointing that American Greatness relied on “three [anonymous] State Department employees” instead of doing their own research into the State Dep’t reorganization process, obstruction of nominations by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and who Is actually doing what. I’ll share a few points, because I have been following the State Dep’t very closely:

      1. https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/04/270401.htm “April 24, 2017 Appointment of Heather Nauert as State Department Spokesperson” Nauert is doing a great job. Her pressers: better than a script by Aaron Sorkin.
      https://video.state.gov/detail/videos/top-stories/video/5575221750001/foreign-press-center-briefing-with-spokesperson-heather-nauert?autoStart=true Sept. 13, 2017

      2. https://www.state.gov/s/p/staff/ Policy Planning Staff: Comunications Team: R.C. Hammond, Senior Advisor for Public Affairs. Hammond is on this team that does report directly to Sec. Tillerson, but he is certainly NOT the Spokesperson.

      3. Obstruction of Confirmation Hearings for Ambassadors, and senior nominations: Jamie McCourt was nominated as Ambassador to France &Monaco on Aug. 2, and Richard Grenell to Germany on Aug. 3. Both hearings were on Sept. 27, but no SFRC vote has yet been scheduled in order to gat a full Senate confirmation vote. The SFRC has been less obstructive since Sen. John Cornyn, on Aug. 2, publicly criticized the Senate for obstruction of confirmation of Kay Bailey Hutchison as Ambassador to NATO.

      As of Oct. 16: 21 Ambassadors have been confirmed by the Senate, but 30 nominees are still pending. Before Aug. 2? POTUS Trump nominated Gov Branstad for China on Dec. 7, 2016, sent the nomination to the Senate on Jan. 20, 2017 with nominations for the Cabinet. https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/20/nominations-sent-senate His confirmation hearing date was announced on April 25 2017, for May 2. The confirmation vote was May 22, 2017. As of July 21, 2017, the U.S. Senate has confirmed six (6): Nikki Haley to the UN; David Friedman to Israel; Terry Branstad to China, Todd Haskell to Congo (Rep.of); Wm Hagerty IV to Japan, Scott Brown to New Zealand&Samoa, and T.S. Mushingi to Senegal&Guinea-Biassau.
      Tracker: http://www.afsa.org/list-ambassadorial-appointments

      4. I could add same obstruction on confirmation of senior positions, but have done so at too many other sites, and did not expect American Greatness to fall for the same Fake NewsRumours.

      5. https://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/rls/dos/99484.htm State Dep’t. Organizational Chart Nov 2016 certainly needed re-organization, a process that is being reported to Congress by Deputy Sec of State John Sullivan, confirmed on May 24, 2017: https://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/biog/271436.htm
      July 17 re-org…State Department – with a workforce of more than 75,000… Over 35,000 employees completed the survey and hundreds took part in face-to-face interviews… Phase II includes a Steering Committee to
      provide oversight; working groups to address the main themes that came out of the listening tour: foreign assistance, overseas alignment and approach, human capital planning, IT platforms, and management support; and an online portal … report submitted by September 15th.
      https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/071717_Sullivan_Testimony.pdf

      September 26, 2017: The Department of State RedesignTestimony John J. Sullivan Deputy Secretary of State
      Testimony Before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Washington, DC
      https://www.state.gov/s/d/17/274434.htm

      • There was some troll on a day or so ago who was bleating that our ambassadors were a bunch of pallid peeps, which apparently would come as innaresting news to Ambassador Mushingi.

        Do you buy the Tillerson-getting-pitched narrative? I still want John Bolton at State. Foggy Bottom’s position on the Kurds is a continuing embarrassment. 🙁

        • Doctor Bass Monkey

          Bolton at State would be entertaining and productive

        • BCML

          Out of your coma?

        • D4x

          No – anonymous leaks spun into a web full of FakeNews about Sec Tillerson – possibly an offshoot of the revived Rhodes-echo-chamber to discredit whatever POTUS was going to say about Iran & JCPOA. As for Bolton? Better these days as a flame-throwing pundit.

          The Kurdish saga is really complex, and continues to continue. I have followed that in comments elsewhere, but, it does look like DoD was leading State on what you found embarrassing. Now? State wants Iraq to follow their constitution. Article 140 required a referendum in Kirkuk before Dec 31, 2007. This is not the end, rather one step in serious geopolitical complexity.
          Talabani’s PUK seems to have sold out to Iran. More important is why there was no ‘mystery drone strike’ when Iran’s Soleimani was displaying his GPS co-ordinates in Kirkuk and in KRG last weekend.

          My bet is al-Abadi now knows Iraq’s Sunnis want to secede, and that really does block Iran’s land bridge to Lebanon. The West Bank of the Tigris could become new provinces in KSA and Jordan.
          Tillerson’s schedule Oct. 21 – 27 is Riyadh-Qatar-India-Pakistan-and then Geneva on refugees. Riyadh was the Iraq-Saudi rapprochement, and what to do about Iran. Primary sources: https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/index.htm

          • Boy, how did *India* get into that itinerary of theocracies?

          • D4x

            Reading whitehouse.gov and State.gov is the best way to actually know what is going on, because almost no one in the media or online is paying attention to what is actually happening in the “conduct of foreign relations”. Did you even hear about the Three Seas Initiative? Baltic, Adriatic, and Black Seas. Eleven nations, July 6. https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/07/06/remarks-president-trump-three-seas-initiative-summit-july-6-2017

            Tillerson in India? https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/10/274946.htm “Secretary of State Tillerson Travel to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Pakistan, India, and Switzerland” India is f/u to June 26 bilaterals in DC: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/06/26/remarks-president-trump-and-prime-minister-modi-india-joint-press security and prosperity translates to Blackhawks on the Sino-India border, more US oil exports to India, plus all the other agreements made, and AfPak…

            The WH had their first Official Dinner for a foreign dignitary on June 26, for PM Modi, plus all these working meets. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2df98275aa3ebf52613fb00a71f578de12416c642e337b84f9aaa84fa66a3c05.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/491d5a2caf0bbd5f7b5ad7b39110a82aa4b95cc33ab46012796f6fc417b3ec23.jpg

            Our alliance with India is paradigm-breaking. Good thing India’s media notices. So does China, Pakistan, Japan, and Israel. Ditto Argentina, Panama, Ukraine, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, France, Poland, …most of Eastern Europe.

            I included the link to State’s 2017 press releases above so you might also enjoy this: https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/index.htm Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir: “we have many Saudis who have family ties to Iraq, there are tribal ties to Iraq, and so Iraq is very, very important to us. Also Iraq is part of our history. Every Arab and every Muslim takes pride in the Abbasid empire…” https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2017/10/274995.htm

            FM al-Jubeir citing the Abbasid empire, and tribal ties was terrific shorthand: Persians and Ottomans: get out of Iraq, or the Kingdoms of Jordan and Saudi Arabia will extend to the West Bank of the Tigris. It all goes back to the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah and Ctesiphon, 636-637 CE.

            Postmodernism never took hold in Mesopotamia.

            There is no way John Bolton could work with TeamTrump, not like Tillerson, Ross, and Perry are doing. Most WH bilaterals have working luncheons with State, Defense, and Commerce and Energy, and separate meets at each Department. 10 02 2017 Thailand’s PM Prayuth Chan-ocha and his team, working luncheon in the West Wing Cabinet Room: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/30a04c91f9c705266ffd8d2ad18015322a977a9f9ce07cf639718ad74edbd938.jpg THAT was the day after Las Vegas. THAT is what has been happening almost since Day 1. On Day 1, it was King Abdullah II of Jordan meeting VP Pence, DoD, State, and can not remember who else – he was in DC for four days.

            It is incredible what is being accomplished while even amgreatness is stuck in their own echo chamber, waiting for poll-tested talking points announced only by POTUS, never understanding this administration is substance, with style, focused on security and prosperity.

          • The India thing is such a *relief*, after ages of being allied with Pakistan, arguably the most failed state in the world, because Nehru was a virtual red until China moved in on his northern border, and then his awful daughter and her various puppets, including Singh, took up the cudgels. But point out the long-standing alliance with Pakistan to the leftbots who wail about the US being “anti-Muslim” (to say nothing of NATOs bombing of the Serbs to protect Muslims in Kosovo) and they stare at you with total incomprehension. Mention Zbig Lebowski chasing the Russkies out of Afghanistan, you might as well be speaking Finnish…. which brings us back to.. the BALTIC! 🙂

      • Wild Horse Texan

        Cornyn talks out of both sides of his mouth. He has enabled McConnell like the Hollyweirds have enabled Weinstein. Worst kind of Never Trumper establishment figure.

        Not happy with his representation…
        https://www.axios.com/john-cornyn-holds-up-top-white-house-nominee-2498698528.html

        • D4x

          Whatever. As an Independent, I do not follow the GOP factions, schisms, or heresies. On Aug. 2, only six (6) Ambassadors had been confirmed. On Aug. 2, Cornyn publicly criticized the Senate for obstruction of confirmation of Kay Bailey Hutchison as Ambassador to NATO. On Aug. 3, ELEVEN (11) more Ambassadors were confirmed by the Senate, including NATO, the UK, Canada, and Italy, and State nominees for USAID and Consular Affairs. Cornyn does not sit on the SFRC, but Corker is the Chair. Corker has not chaired any of the confirmation hearings since the August recess, when Senate Foreign Relations Committee suddenly found a way to schedule hearings that are NOT Salem witch trials designed for the Obstruction.

  • Anne Miller

    Maybe the CEO, Trump, should have hired someone as Sec of State who had a clue.

    • Jeremy Steinacker

      Would anyone who actually had a clue ever work for Trump?

      • Anne Miller

        He would not hire such a person. He is a bit insecure.

  • CaptSmith415

    Why are you relying so heavily on unnamed sources? You are becoming more and more like the failing New York Times by the day.

    • CapnSpaulding

      NYT stock is up 46.2% year-to-date. No doubt American Greatness will match that any day now.

      • CaptSmith415

        Ha!

      • vaccinia

        Catering to NYC Prog delusion is a booming business for the Grey Lady! Lose your soul but take the money! The Prog Mantra at work…..

        • CapnSpaulding

          Drugs kicking in early for you, little drooler?

          • vaccinia

            Nah, just looking at their stock price and the BS they spew….

          • CapnSpaulding

            I’d be kind of surprised to find that you’d ever read the thing. Droolers tend to be good at reciting what they’re told on the radio, but those two- and three-syllable words and those stories about other countries are a real challenge.

          • vaccinia

            You mean like where “the thing” reported on THE FRONT PAGE onJan 20, 2017 that Obama wiretapped the Trump campaign…..

            So BS or not?

          • CapnSpaulding

            You’d be talking about the story in which the third paragraph begins: “It is not clear whether the intercepted communications had anything to do with Mr. Trump’s campaign, or Mr. Trump himself”? And doesn’t include the word “Obama”?

            Sad news, little drooler. The nice man on the radio lied to you again!

          • vaccinia

            It’s only not clear to stupid Progs such as yourself, yes…..and who do you think Lynch was spying for? The Easter bunny?

            I could give you the benefit of the doubt and think you were merely naive but you sound like an imbecile so I’ll go with it!

          • CapnSpaulding

            Scream, drooler, scream! The walls are closing in!

          • vaccinia

            You’re the one doing all the yowling….I’m merely (easily I might add) refuting your delusions. You can believe whatever you want, it’s fine with me…no walls, it’s a bright sunny day here!

          • CapnSpaulding

            “refuting”

            Yes, I expect the nice men at the county fair saw you coming a mile away, little drooler!

          • vaccinia

            You remind me of another imbecile on these boards, I can’t remember his avatar at present, but your syntax leads me to believe you are one and the same. Maybe delusional Progs such as yourself ARE just so similar as to be identical brainwashed clones. An interesting hypothesis! Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

          • CapnSpaulding

            “syntax”

            No, probably not. But thanks for playing, little drooler!

          • vaccinia

            Yep! You ARE the other imbecile, different avatar! There just can’t be 2 of you this pathetic. Thanks for the confirmation!

          • CapnSpaulding

            So close, little drooler! Want to go for double or nothing?

          • vaccinia

            Nah, you have become tiresome…..

            I’m sure I will have another chance to refute your delusions in the future, but thanks anyway!

          • CapnSpaulding

            “refute”

            You should ask Santa for a dictionary for Christmas!

    • DonnieZen

      Shouldn’t really have to use anons. The evidence is before everyone’s face, unless you’re a moron.

  • Doctor Bass Monkey

    Tillerson and Sessions should be gone today. No excuse for their bungling if not outright impeding the administration’s goals. And the damn swamp needs to be drained already.

    • Warren Dew

      Sessions has done a great job of clamping down on illegal immigration. Tillerson has laid the quiet groundwork for planned Trump initiatives like getting out of bad trade and climate deals. Seems like the AG folks are just upset that some of their pals haven’t gotten the cushy, do nothing jobs that are slated to be cut anyway.

      • Doctor Bass Monkey

        You can always tell when AG hits a nerve because the trolls come out in force.

      • DonnieZen

        What utter BS. Tillerson fights Trump on almost EVERY issue at State.

    • CaptSmith415

      Michael Anton for SoS! #IamDecius

  • ECM

    By contrast, Tillerson’s modus operandi at state has been described as isolated, unapproachable, even “draconian.”

    If he’s “isolated”, how “draconian” could he be? Don’t you have to be actively involved in the actions of your subordinates to be “draconian”? This whole article is pretty sketchy, and a little surprising given it’s on AmG.

    EDIT: oh, nice, hadn’t even noticed this: the byline is “the editors”, which means nobody was willing to put their name on it, which tells you all you need to know about the schizophrenia of it.

    • Victor

      Anonymous bylines quoting anonymous sources, my favorite.

      • roastytoasty

        the swamp slime is spreading like The Blob…the only thing missing from this ‘report’ are polling stats…

        • Non Sequitur

          Unfortunately this kind of click bait disinformation is becoming much more common everywhere.

          This reporting, about a clash of personalities, belongs in People and not AG.

    • DonnieZen

      So, you think the State Department is doing a bang-up job then?

      • ECM

        1. Your initial comment is a strawman as there was no commentary on the overall quality of the State dept itself but, rather, the incoherent nature of the reporting which seeks to have it both ways.
        2. You don’t understand what a strawman is.

        • DonnieZen

          1.My initial comment is not straw man, I asked a simple question, no logical fallacy attempting to buttress my question, it’s not even an assertion. Try again.
          2. Your comment that I called out doesn’t buttress your assertions of wether Tillerson is being isolated or draconian, it relies on an epithet which doesn’t, in any way, begin to buttress your assertion.
          Here’s straw man for ya’- go back and try, yet again, for that elusive GED. You know you want it, and it could only help.

          • ECM

            1. It was clearly an accusation, not a query requesting clarification on my beliefs. Please, try harder.

            2. Buttress my assertion? Of course it does. When someone pens an article and doesn’t want to append their byline to it, there’s usually a pretty good reason for that. So we have, as others have noted, an anonymously sourced article with an anonymous author or authors (probably the latter), which leads to a pretty good explanation as to why it’s schizophrenic and you have have an SOS who is both “draconian” and “isolated”, even when that should be fairly impossible in the same breath. It really isn’t that difficult, is it?

    • TyreByter

      Yeah, the thing is incoherent.

      ‘Peterlin and Hook have created a tight bottleneck, separating the 75,000 State Department staffers—true experts in international relations—from the secretary.’

      Sounds like the deep state complaining to me – which can only be a good thing.

    • Skinner

      Exactly right. Plus the “anonymous state department staffers”.

      The whole thing stinks.

    • ca1

      pretty sketchy is right… i lost interest in trying to finish the circuitous path of “intrigue” being described as going on in the state department…. what a nothing burger…. btw, drain the damn swamp and let’s get on with maga!

  • Hawaii50

    Nothing surprises me anymore. Fire this idiot today!

  • Eric Cassel

    we dont need a communist media in America end them all

  • Mikey NTH

    According to “top people” who totally – trust me on this – know the totality of everything.

    Honest.
    Top.
    People.

    • CaptSmith415

      Let’s hope Trump finds and punishes the leakers. MAGA!

      • DonnieZen

        Make up your mind. You want them to stay, because this story comes from anon leakers, or do you want them to go?

        • CaptSmith415

          We need to crack down on leakers, no matter what side they are on.

      • Carl Sagen

        You just don’t get it do you? Trump who is incompetent hires Tillerson who is incompetent then people like you are surprised when things don’t work out like Trump said they would. How’s that great healthcare your going to have day one coming along?

        • CaptSmith415

          You just don’t get it. Trump is our Lincoln. Either you support him or you are as pro-American as the Confederate traitors.

          • Carl Sagen

            Trump wouldn’t know Lincoln if Abe walked up and bit him on the ass. Your comment shows how very little you know about history. And who the hell do you think you are, questioning my patriotism over a comment. You are the reason this Country is going down the toilet.

          • CaptSmith415

            Typical liberal comment for someone still butt hurt by Clinton losing. I bet you also defend all of the sexual perverts in Hollywood.

          • Carl Sagen

            KMA

          • CaptSmith415

            Fake news.

          • Carl Sagen

            What are you, a parrot?

          • CaptSmith415

            Go ahead and cry about your sorrows at your Georgetown cocktail parties. Mama Clinton lost. Get over it.

          • mlopez

            Carl Sagan is dead, billions upon billions..why don’t youlay down a$$hole

          • Carl Sagen

            Like you defend “they let you grab’em by the pussy” Trump?

          • CaptSmith415

            You don’t understand locker room talk? Trump is a real man unlike gay pansies like “Rex.”

          • mlopez

            No suck face, I’m the guy questioning your patriotism. You and your ilk are the reason they could get away with selling out America, you and your self loathing. We are happy to meet you anytime anywhere. You talk because you lost. And that makes you a loser. All of a sudden the final arbitor of who knows what about history and Abe Lincoln too. You arrogant, officious twerp.

          • Carl Sagen

            So is your trailer a single or double-wide and does it have power and running water?

          • Carl Sagen

            And what would you like to meet me for,, tea?

        • mlopez

          It’s improved, but we’re not finished yet.

        • ca1

          well carl, i’ll take their kind of incompetence over yours(and your party of criminals) any day of the week! thank GOD for trump!

    • DonnieZen

      Show us where Tillerson’s anti-American State Department has complied with Trump’s Foreign Policy initiatives. Where?

  • Bill Ireland

    So, these villains are opposing the president’s “stated policy agenda.” What agenda would that be? To put “America first?” That’s a slogan, not a policy. The first problem is a president who is embarrassingly ignorant of world affairs. He can’t have a coherent policy if he doesn’t understand the world. If I were Tillerson, I’d hide too.

  • Harlan

    The inability to remove the deep state/obama lackeys from the state dept. and all federal agencies is thus far Trump’s greatest failure. Could such a shrewd business person be that clueless?

  • Warren Dew

    And yet, we’re out of TPP, we’re out of the Paris agreement, we’re putting Iran on warning. Seems to me Trump’s foreign policy agenda is proceeding just fine.

  • gda

    The swamp is very deep, and very stinky. Literally everyone in State is a globalist.

  • Obama

    May not be able to fire government employees. But can re-assign them duties and and move their office to the toilet room.

  • Victor

    Respectfully Editors, please describe what the State Dept. does, political appointees and career foreign service officers.

    • CaptSmith415

      Experts are the problem. We don’t need no stinking experts.

  • Realist

    Doesn’t anyone in the Trump administration know how to kick ass and take names? Fire the obstructionists.

    • CaptSmith415

      Fire the leakers! MAGA!

      • BCML

        MAGA. The battle cry of the American Neanderthal.

        • vaccinia

          Did you know that Neanderthals were highly successful Hominids? AND that (unless you are from Africa) your genome contains anywhere from 1.4 to 2.8 percent Neanderthal DNA? Further, that DNA gives you a life enhancing immune system and the ability to adapt to cold weather without which you would have a northern hemisphere disadvantage?

          American Neanderthal indeed! MAGAA!

          • mlopez

            And they were sensitive, very caring and buried their dead face up with flowers and had culture. Some of my best friends are Neanderthal and battle cry sums it up just fine. We’re coming for you. MAGA

        • ca1

          …ok, american neanderthal unite! MAGA!

  • Abel Washington

    Mr. President and Rex, fire Peterlin and Hook, two State Department ‘never Trumpers’ who operate from a Trojan Horse.

    • TAE54

      Rex is the biggest problem working against Trump’s agenda. Trump will eventually fire Rex–just a question of timing.

  • swek

    Trump can’t find anyone with any knowledge who’ll descend into his sewer of hate and ignroance

    • Rod

      If you’re going to accuse someone of ignorance, you should learn to spell it. Otherwise you look like an idoit.

    • CaptSmith415

      He found Michael Anton.

  • carl Jung

    Just shut down the state department and fire all the employees. They can be replaced by a voice mail system with menus.

    • unbelievable!

      Excellent idea!

  • Artful Dodger

    The State Department comes from a time when news of foreign governments was hard to get. Now you can find everything you need on the Internet. Fire them all and run foreign policy from the White House.

  • Bob Acker

    Let’s have another helping of cheese with that whine.

  • RJ

    Maybe you know more about the State Department than I do…maybe, just maybe. I recall watching Bremer get off the plane with his rep tie and bottoned down shirt in Iraq and went “Oh no, we’re toast now!” years ago. Empty desks really don’t bother me as long as Rex is Trump’s man for the job. Peace Corps types. along with a phalanx of lawyers have gotten our military guys on the ground killed and wounded for far too long.

    Note how the Trump haters are trying their hardest to make the Niger killing of four SF warriors a Benghazi moment for this President. How many work in State who are supporting such evil? More than we need.

    Your liberal hero Harvey W. is out of rehab…oh yea, he is cured beyond belief as he helps your pals!

    You people make me sick! I’ll take Kelly, Maddis and others all day long as those I want to work with…

  • Spinoneone

    First, the resignations of all of Obama’s political ambassadors were accepted by President Trump on 1/20/17. A few were allowed to remain for up to 30 days to finish personal business. Second, career Foreign Service Officers serve the nation and support the Constitution. They carry out the policies of the current Administration without regard to their personal preferences. Many of those who decided they couldn’t support President Trump took the honorable way out and resigned or retired. From what I have seen, most FSOs are less “anti-Trump” than Feith and company. I agree that the President would be wise to get more of his people into the building, but that presumes there is a WH foreign policy to be carried out. I’m not sure I’ve seen one, yet.

    • Rod

      1. Out of the Paris Agreement
      2. ISIS no longer holds cities
      3. North Korea is now under serious sanctions
      4. Iran agreement is headed for the trash bin

      But I guess if you think we’re facing climate Armageddon, but ISIS, a nuclear-armed NKorea, and a soon-to-be-nuclear-armed Iran are no threats, then yes, you probably haven’t seen any serious foreign policy moves yet.

  • quodverum

    Surprise. “Never Trumpers in the State Department are “undermining President Trump’s agenda”.

    Never Trumpers of whatever political persuasion.

    BUT ALL Of “the incestuous Left and those who cover for them” over the past half or so century. Insinuated into policy, hiring and firing, echelons in All civic institutions, not least the government.

    Everywhere, everytime for whatever reasons they are insinuated as spores selected and trained by proven experts.

    “Intent” on “working secretly and unknown in the night to UNDERMINE the pillars of the City / Nation”.

    Moreover warned of long long ago as specifically in the State Department.

    By the Cassandra of the day Senator Joseph McCarthy.

    Example of George Santayana’s dictum, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

  • Loligag1953

    Political patronage is a double edged sword. With Civil Service employees, the word “service” is an oxymoron, and disingenuous at best.

  • bscook111

    Gossipy piece of crap.

  • Deez Nuts

    Never Trumpers are the worst. At least you know where you stand with the leftists.

  • Attila

    Until people start putting their names on quotes, I’ll take Tillerson at his word.

    • Matthew_Snow

      Exactly.. when anomyous sources are anti-Trump, they are made up fake news. When they are pro-Trump, they are gospel.

  • Trapper John

    You aren’t going to experienced veterans at State or other departments who are pro Trump.

  • bilahn

    How can Trump “drain the swamp” when he and his administration are worse than a swamp – they are undermining and destroying our country? He is a fascist and you are the enablers. :SHAME

    • johndeere790

      what an amazing stupid comment

      • bilahn

        Just what I would expect from a cult follower of the Dear Leader. Undermine Trump? You bet we are.

      • Name

        There is no swamp just like theres no fake news. Those two phrases are right wing propaganda slogans for idiots.

  • Lionel Mandrake

    It’s an old State Department tradition to undermine the United States. It started under FDR, with scores of Russian agents (literally taking orders from Joe Stalin, or Uncle Joe as FDR used to call him) being hired for high level positions within DOS.
    This resulted in our disastrous China policy etc, which ultimately cost the lives of 30 million Chinese, 33,000 US dead in Korea, 50,000 plus US war dead in Viet Nam, the Killing Fields (2 million plus dead), Cuba enslaved, Poland enslaved, E Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Hungary enslaved, and the slow poisoning of our youth, the results of which can be seen today in Berkely et al.
    Thanks DOS!

    • jus1drun

      The DOS (Deep orifice State) is but a symptom of the failure to face the world as it presents itself. And of course the self congratulating and flatulating career politicians can’t be bothered with any of it because they have personal political offices to maintain. It’s an imperfect system that occasionally needs a skure up the rump (such as a Trump) to wake them from their blissful slumber.

      • Lionel Mandrake

        No, it’s too little and too late. The DOS needs a Stalinistic purge. As does the USA. Like an alcoholic who needs to hit rock bottom before he can start to get better. Civil war perhaps?

        • jus1drun

          Sorry, too much collateral damage. Heck, according to some the world is falling apart with the simple act of just a Trump stump up their rump. Enjoy it, moments like these don’t come a dime a dozen.

  • Carl Sagen

    This article is a joke. You have an incompetent President who put together an incompetent administration including hiring an incompetent Secretary of State and you try to make the case that problems with State are someone else’s fault. Let me quote you here:
    “More than nine months into the new administration, most of the senior State Department positions—assistant and deputy assistant secretary posts—remain unfilled.

    What’s more, the United States currently has no ambassador to the European Union, or to key allies such as France, Germany, Australia, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia. Meantime, Obama Administration holdovers remain ensconced in the department and stationed at embassies in the Balkans, Africa, and the Middle East.”
    So Trump wants to “drain the swamp”? Really? Trust me on this, he’s perfectly happy sowing chaos because it keeps all the sheep distracted while he and his buddies pick their pockets.

    • CaptSmith415

      Fake news

  • VXXC2014

    Tllerson is not the problem.
    Treason is the problem and it’s institutional.

  • Name

    Thank God for the patriots who arent quitting and letting moron trump from screwing the world up.

  • Bluerose11

    I give it three says before Alex Jones “breaks” this story. Infowars exclusive…..LOL

  • Matthew_Snow

    Its a pro-Trump article that points out issues that Trump is responsible for. He nominates ambassadors, not Tillerson or his subordinates.

    • CaptSmith415

      Trump didn’t nominate Rex?

  • D4x

    Reading whitehouse.gov and State.gov https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/10/index.htm is the best way to actually know what is going on, because almost no one in the media or online is paying attention to what is actually happening in the “conduct of foreign relations”. Did you even hear about the Three Seas Initiative Summit? Baltic, Adriatic, and Black Seas. Eleven nations, July 6, 2017. https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/07/06/remarks-president-trump-three-seas-initiative-summit-july-6-2017 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oCvysoMc0g

    https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/10/274946.htm “October 20-27: Secretary of State Tillerson Travel to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Pakistan, India, and Switzerland” India is f/u to June 26 bilaterals in DC: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/06/26/remarks-president-trump-and-prime-minister-modi-india-joint-press security and prosperity translates to Blackhawks on the Sino-India border, more US oil exports to India, plus all the other agreements made, and AfPak…

    The WH had their first Official Dinner for a foreign dignitary on June 26, for PM Modi, plus all these working meets. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2df98275aa3ebf52613fb00a71f578de12416c642e337b84f9aaa84fa66a3c05.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/491d5a2caf0bbd5f7b5ad7b39110a82aa4b95cc33ab46012796f6fc417b3ec23.jpg

    Our alliance with India is paradigm-breaking. Good thing India’s media notices. So does China, Pakistan, Japan, and Israel. Ditto Argentina, Panama, Ukraine, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, France, Poland, …most of Eastern Europe. Russia’s media is more fair than the ‘Let’s Create a New Anonymous Scandal Distraction’ of the USA media that traps most pundits into echoing the fabricated distraction.

    Oct. 22 https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/index.htm Sec Tillerson in Riyadh for the KSA-Iraq
    Coordination Council: “Certainly, Iranian militias that are in Iraq, now that the fight against Daesh and ISIS is coming to a close, those militias need to go home. Any foreign fighters in Iraq need to go home”
    Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir: “we have many Saudis who have family ties to Iraq, there are tribal ties to Iraq, and so Iraq is very, very important to us. Also Iraq is part of our history. Every Arab and every Muslim takes pride in the Abbasid empire…” https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2017/10/274995.htm

    FM al-Jubeir citing the Abbasid empire, and tribal ties was terrific shorthand: Persians and Ottomans: get out of Iraq, or the Kingdoms of Jordan and Saudi Arabia will extend to the West Bank of the Tigris. It all goes back to the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah and Ctesiphon, 636-637 CE.

    Most WH bilaterals have working luncheons with State, Defense, Treasury, Commerce and Energy, and separate meets at each Department. 10 02 2017 Thailand’s PM Prayuth Chan-ocha and his team, working luncheon in the West Wing Cabinet Room: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/30a04c91f9c705266ffd8d2ad18015322a977a9f9ce07cf639718ad74edbd938.jpg THAT was the day after Las Vegas. THAT is what has been happening almost since Day 1. On Day 1, it was King Abdullah II of Jordan meeting VP Pence, DoD, State, and can not remember who else – he was in DC for four days.

    It is incredible what is being accomplished while even amgreatness is stuck in their own echo chamber, waiting for poll-tested talking points announced only by POTUS, looking now for clickbait, never understanding this administration is substance, with style, focused on security and prosperity, and actual results.

    amgreatness is so lazy they will not follow State Department nomination Obstruction in the Senate, or the employee-input re-organization that will eliminate almost all of Obama’s Special Envoys for Whatever, or the comment threads here.
    Shameful for the website that brought us “The Flight 93 Election”.

  • Char Sal

    These savages need to be fired.

  • Andrew Sylwester

    RECIPE FOR HOW TO CONVERT A FUNCTIONING INSTUTUTION INTO A DILBERT-WORTHY DISASTER

    Article title: Rex Tillerson and the Unraveling of the State Department

    Subtitle: With an isolated leader, a demoralized diplomatic corps and a president dismantling international relations one tweet at a time, American foreign policy is adrift in the world.

    Date: 10/18/17

    Link:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/17/magazine/rex-tillerson-and-the-unraveling-of-the-state-department.html

  • Andrew Sylwester

    ELECTION INFILTRATION BY MALICIOUS FOREIGN POWER

    ———–

    First, just in case you erroneously believe Russia is our (or the GOP’s) friend:

    Article title: Russian Hackers Stole NSA Data on U.S. Cyber Defense

    Subtitle: The breach, considered the most serious in years, could enable Russia to evade NSA surveillance and more easily infiltrate U.S. networks

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-hackers-stole-nsa-data-on-u-s-cyber-defense-1507222108

    ————-

    Foreign Policy Journal, Article title: Trump has Picked America’s Enemies in Russia Over Its Friends in Europe

    http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/07/09/trump-has-picked-americas-enemies-in-russia-over-its-friends-in-europe/

    ————-

    Article title:

    (Republican Jon) Huntsman Says There’s No Doubt Russia Meddled in Election

    Subtitle: Statement by Trump’s pick for Russia ambassador contrasts with president’s equivocation about the findings of U.S. intelligence

    Date: 09/19/17

    Link:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/huntsman-says-theres-no-doubt-russia-meddled-in-election-1505846852?mod=e2fb

    ————–

    Article title:

    Facebook reportedly discovered it had been infiltrated by Russian government hackers months before the election

    Link:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-russia-election-2017-9?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+businessinsider%2Fpolitics+%28Business+Insider+-+Politix%29

  • Allie Youpe

    As bad as Tillerson is, Jeff Sessions is worse. He’s got Rod Rosenstein and Andrew McCabe running the Dept of Justice and FBI–along with Mueller. Trump won the election but is losing the war for control of the government.

    • jaimelmanzano

      The domestic swamp, and critters it nourishes, are particularly frightening. The DOJ, and the FBI, are truly troubling. Then, of course, is the IRS. If you cross them, they may destroy you legally, and financially. The citizenry should be alerted….even scared, of their abuse of public power.

  • bscook111

    Tillerson has the most important, critically important, cabinet post at present. State badly needs to have many many people, positions, efforts and attitudes removed and with prejudice. Some recent secretaries have tried before but only feebly. Others have tried not at all but rather made it worse. Hopefully Tillerson has the stones for it. The chore will require a great deal of ugly unorthodox action to accomplish; but gutting State for a fresh start is far more important than any other cabinet action at present. The globe is really quite quiet and now is the time for the overhaul.

    • jaimelmanzano

      “Stones.” I like that.

  • jaimelmanzano

    Very swampy. Let’s think “outside the box.”

    Why would you choose to work in the State Department, specifically in Washington DC? For one, if you are a senior policy wonk, you are probably making more money in a Think Tank, and influencing policies creatively. In the State Department, you would be surrounded by entitled employees set on preserving their policy perches, while affecting nothing, save through leaks to the media. Not filling “vacancies” may actually be more efficient, insofar as changing/directing policies, and reducing the budget. Real change in international affairs is the product of policies, and programs, outside the bureaucracy of State. It occurs in departments like Commerce, and Treasury, as well as in DoD, and the CIA, responding fundamentally to the White House and Presidential leadership.

  • RIP_UN_1945_2017

    It looks like the authors hit a real nerve with this article and the nevertrumpers are ready to pounce .

  • 1985

    It’s ok to not fire him, but to announce that they’re simply going to make a change..and have Tillerson take over as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. The rest…will take care of itself.

  • disqus_iy986XBeze

    Stupidity reigns supreme

  • Commander_Chico

    Neocon chickenhawk princelings like Feith getting in, forget about “America First,” on to war with Iran!

  • ca1

    …. UM, WTF? drain the damn swamp!