Speed Reads

well this is awkward

Rex Tillerson dodges Russia questions in first overseas trip as secretary of state

In his first overseas trip since being confirmed, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov while attending a gathering of foreign ministers from the Group of 20 countries in Bonn, Germany. In remarks after the meeting, Tillerson said he'd pushed Russia to follow through with its vow to "de-escalate the violence in Ukraine," while Lavrov remarked that supporters of U.S. sanctions against Russia should consider "how much the artificial desire to politicize this subject meets the interests of the countries concerned."

Tillerson refused to take questions after delivering his statement on Ukraine, and State Department aides asked the press to leave Tillerson's meeting with Lavrov immediately following Lavrov's introductory remarks. The New York Times reported the Russian news crew was "bewildered-looking," and Lavrov was apparently overheard asking Tillerson, "Why did they shush them out?"

Tillerson's meeting with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was similarly awkward, beginning when Johnson arrived "almost half an hour late, his blond hair flying as he dashed out of his motorcade," The New York Times reported. When Johnson and Tillerson finally did sit down together, Tillerson responded to a reporter's question about Trump's immigration order with silence. "Good try," Johnson said, per The New York Times, while others "nervously chuckled."