It looks like all the talk of a “Rexit” at the Department of State will have to quiet down for at least a little while after Secretary Rex Tillerson told CNN last night that he plans on remaining in his job for the full year.
Rumors about Tillerson’s imminent departure from his position have been swirling since word leaked out that the Secretary of State had called the President a “moron” and Tillerson pointedly refused to deny the story at the time.
The former Exxon/Mobil CEO told CNN that:
“I think we’re going to have a very productive 2018, and I look forward to having a very, very successful 2018.”
CNN then asked the Secretary directly whether he would be staying in the Trump cabinet long enough to realize his predictions, to which Tillerson replied that he intended “to be here for the whole year.”
Given the political instability that the Trump administration has experienced under the “stable genius” at the top, political observers have been wondering which of the current cabinet members would be the first leave, either voluntarily or through a reprise of Trump’s famous catchphrase from The Apprentice, “You’re fired!”
Lately, the smart money has been leaning towards the departure of Attorney General Jeff Sessions with the rationale being that Trump’s continued anger over Session’s refusal to abandon his recusal in the Russia investigation would lead him to impulsively fire Sessions again as he did immediately after the Mueller appointment, and ignore the massive ramifications that such a move would launch.
That line of thinking places as much stock in Trump’s impetuousness as it does in Tillerson’s stoicism, and, judging from the Secretary of State’s comments to CNN, it may just be the winning formula in this yet-to-be-determined bet. Tillerson’s desire to remain in office can be inferred from his reaction to the stories about the President’s mental fitness for office that have swirled anew after the publication of Michael Wolff’s book in which multiple administration staffers concurred with Tillerson’s alleged characterization of Trump’s intellect.
“I’ve never questioned his mental fitness,” Tillerson told CNN. “I have no reason to question his mental fitness.”
Then again, Tillerson’s response to a question about whether he was enjoying his job may leave some hope left for those who placed their money on his departure as being the first:
“I am learning to enjoy it,” he replied.
While “Rexit” may not be immediately imminent, that rejoinder does not inspire the most confidence in a long tenure.