Rex Tillerson met with the press this afternoon and announced he would be on the job until the end of March.
— ABC News (@ABC) March 13, 2018
Let’s not normalize this. The turnover in the White House is far from normal. Just last week White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said: “This is an intense place, as is every White House and it’s not abnormal to have people come and go.” But in the case of Secretary of State, we can say without a doubt that is simply NOT true.
A full 43 percent of top-level positions in the Trump White House have seen turnover. That is not normal. https://t.co/ncpiQNxiPv
— NPR (@NPR) March 7, 2018
The Secretary of State is the most important cabinet position. He or she is fourth in the line of succession to the president. It is NOT a position for short-timers.
Take the last few administrations. All the Secretary of States stayed for four years, basically one full Presidential term.
-Barack Obama had Hillary Clinton and John Kerry
-George W. Bush had Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice
-Bill Clinton had Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright
My former SAIS professor emails: “John Adams fired Timothy PIckering; Reagan fired Al Haig. Tillerson is only the 3rd SecState to be fired. [Others were marginalized, or quit in anger, but firing has been rare.]”
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) March 13, 2018
One reason it’s a long-term job is that the Secretary of State needs to cultivate relationships around the world and be the face of the American government. For instance, Rex Tillerson spent the last week in Africa trying to repair relationships after Trump’s “shithole” comments. He was the most Senior US official to visit Africa since Trump took office. But foreign ministers didn’t know if what Tillerson was saying was the position of Donald Trump. In the end, it was one of the many factors that led to his ouster.