Tillerson Says State Department Spending 'Unsustainable'

Kristopher Drake
March 18, 2017

A reporter from the conservative-leaning Independent Journal Review got the lone press seat on top USA diplomat Rex Tillerson's plane for his three-stop Asia trip, with the State Department shutting out other media from traveling with him. McPike, the IJR reporter, is traveling unilaterally and is not a pool reporter.

The IJR had said in its own statement that the State Department had moved last week to offer one of the outlet's reporters, Erin McPike, a place aboard Mr. Tillerson's aircraft for the trip to Asia, where the secretary of state began his diplomatic visit in Japan Wednesday.

The State Department Correspondents Association issued a statement late Tuesday saying it was "disappointed" Tillerson chose to fly without a full contingent of correspondents or a pool reporter. The department had previously told reporters covering Tillerson's trip to South Korea, Japan, and China that he would not be taking reporters on his plane and that they would have to fly commercially, breaking with decades of precedent stretching back to Henry Kissinger.

"I take the challenge that the president has given us on willingly", he said.

"We've been very clear, frankly, that this is a smaller footprint all around, and this is the secretary's decision, to travel with a smaller footprint", he said.

Several news organizations, including The Associated Press, CNN, The New York Times and others, have expressed behind-the-scenes outrage over the development.

This has added to the widespread impression that the department, whose budget the White House reportedly plans to cut by as much as 37 percent, is a nonentity in this administration.

But Toner would not say if the novel arrangement would be repeated or whether the accredited press would again be allowed to travel with the top USA diplomat the next time he travels overseas.

Before founding IJR, Skatell worked for the National Republican Senatorial Committee and for the Republican Governors Association, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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