Published: Sat, March 18, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Tillerson tells State Department employees that budget cut reflects new priorities

Tillerson tells State Department employees that budget cut reflects new priorities

The department had said that Tillerson would not take journalists with him as he was traveling on a small plane.

As Trump's approach to foreign policy evolves, the concerns about the role of the State Department-and the new secretary of state-only continue to grow.

As Rachel noted on the show last night, Tillerson told reporters yesterday that the administration believes it can afford to dramatically cut the State Department's funding because "there will be fewer military conflicts that the US will be directly engaged in".

"It was chose to take a journalist from an outlet that doesn't normally travel with the Secretary of State, as part of an effort to include a broader representation of US media", Toner said.

The website, the Independent Journal Review, said late Tuesday that IJR reporter Erin McPike is the lone journalist traveling with Tillerson on his tour to Japan, South Korea and China. It also said the decision to travel without reporters was meant to cut costs.

Reporters, however suggested the State Department was seeking "a friendly audience" to cover Tillerson's trip focused on resolving a potential crisis on the Korean peninsula, the Examiner reported.

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For decades, secretaries of state have almost always invited media to travel with them. "We could not accommodate press", Toner told reporters.

McPike has been persistent in requesting an interview with Secretary Tillerson.

The trip is taking place amid escalating tensions with North Korea.

On the eve of Tillerson's Asia trip, US Acting Assistant Secretary of State Susan Thornton said in Washington on Monday that former president Barack Obama's "pivot to the Pacific" effort is officially dead, and the Trump administration has its own plan for the region, even if that plan has yet to take shape. I spent seven years traveling with Secretaries Hillary Clinton and John Kerry for Bloomberg News and can vouch that the charges to newsrooms were colossal - upwards of $10,000 for a four-city trip to Asia.

Those who flew commercially couldn't get visas for China without the State Department's assistance and won't be able to keep up with Tillerson's itinerary or talk to aides between meetings. Skatell, who previously worked for the Republican Governors Association, founded IJR with GOP strategist Phil Musser in 2012.

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