Speed Reads

Summer Vacation

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is 'just taking a little time off,' not quitting, his spokeswoman says

Rex Tillerson has never been the most energetic, popular, or accessible secretary of state, but when reporters noticed that his public schedule has not listed any public events or other information for a few days, or been incorrect, they asked State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on Tuesday why the department isn't saying where Tillerson is or has been. "He does have the ability to go away for a few days on his own," she said, and Tillerson is "just taking a little time off" after his "mega-trip overseas" earlier this month to the G-20 summit, plus trips to Ukraine, Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. "He's entitled to take a few days himself," Nauert said, though she wasn't sure why the schedule just said he was taking vacation days.

Nauert declined to say if Tillerson is happy at his job, but said that recent reports that he's considering quitting the Trump administration are "false." "The secretary has been very clear he intends to stay here at the State Department," she said, adding that he "does, however, serve at the pleasure of the president, just as any Cabinet official would." Tillerson has reportedly clashed with the White House over its micromanaging of his policy and staffing decisions and the assignment of big parts of his portfolio to Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser. Trump has also contradicted him several times, and Tillerson is said to be angry over Trump's treatment of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

On Monday, CNN's John King reported that Tillerson's friends are suggesting he may step down before the end of the year, with one friend saying Trump's treatment of Tillerson is "becoming a death by one thousand little insults." You can watch King's short report on a Tillerson "Rexit" starting at the 3:25 mark. Peter Weber