Trump just fired the Undersecretary of State for the pettiest reason

A key aide to ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has also been fired by the White House.

Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein, who had been on the job for only three months, was sent packing hours after he gave the press information that conflicted with Trump’s claims about why he made the change at the top of the State Department. 

Goldstein, who was approved by the Senate last year, was known to be loyal to Tillerson, who he served as an unofficial spokesman.

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Goldstein had encouraged Tillerson, who has been very press-shy since becoming Secretary of State compared to his predecessors, to speak with the media more.

Goldstein, during his short tenure, did attend a number of meetings at the White House with his boss and had told reporters the plan was to bring foreign policy decision-making back to the State Department.

Many of the traditional State Department functions had shifted to the White House, most notably the role of Trump advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner as the lead person on the Middle East, Mexico and more left little room for Tillerson to function in those key areas.

Even last week, Trump made the decision to agree to a meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un without consulting Tillerson or the State Department. 

Trump decided Tillerson had to go and his Chief Of Staff, John Kelly, had told him on Friday night that he was going to be replaced.

Trump, who had bumped heads with Tillerson on a number of issues, said he was sure his out-going Secretary of State would be “much happier now.”

Tillerson asked for them to wait to announce it until he returned to the U.S. from a trip he was on to Africa, so the White House held off making it official until this morning.

That did not jibe with what Goldstein was saying.

“The Secretary had every intention of staying because of the critical progress made in national security,” Goldstein said in a press release shortly before his dismissal. 

“The Secretary did not speak to the president,” Goldstein had added, “and is unaware of the reason, but he is grateful for the opportunity to serve, and still believes strongly that public service is a noble calling.”

So it appears that Goldstein was sacked for telling the truth in an administration where fabrication, deception, and chaos are more valued than facts.

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Benjamin Locke

Benjamin Locke is a retired college professor with an undergraduate degree in Industrial Labor and Relations from Cornell University and an MBA from the European School of Management.

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