This week a South Korean news outlet reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had to cut short his diplomatic visit there because he was “fatigued.” Even as concerns about the health of Tillerson continue to grow with each overseas trip he takes, he’s stepped forward to offer a rare interaction with a reporter in order to push back against the sentiment – but in so doing, he’s only exacerbated the controversy.
Amid previous reports that Tillerson’s diplomatic trips have been scheduled around his need for excess sleep and naps, this latest incident set off a number of red flags. But now he’s told a reporter from the Independent Journal Review (essentially a mouthpiece for the Trump administration) that South Korea has the story all wrong. Tillerson’s explanation: “They never invited us for dinner, then at the last minute they realized that optically it wasn’t playing very well in public for them, so they put out a statement that we didn’t have dinner because I was tired.”
For Rex Tillerson’s claim to stick, one would have to buy into the notion that the South Korean government has no idea what it’s doing when it comes to hosting diplomats, even though it’s been doing so for generations, and that Tillerson himself – who had zero political experience prior to taking the Secretary of State job, is the one who knows how these things are supposed to work. In addition to floating that unbelievable claim, Tillerson is also risking further international incident with South Korea, at a time when its cooperation with the U.S. is crucial in light of North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
So to recap: Rex Tillerson has offended a key U.S. ally by flubbing his diplomatic visit, then he’s further offended that ally by publicly shifting the blame, and he’s still dodging all reporters except for the one who was willing to print his side of the story unchecked. And all because Tillerson doesn’t want to admit that he apparently lacks the health and stamina required to travel the world as Secretary of State. Rex Tillerson must come clean about his health or resign. Contribute to Palmer Report
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report