President Donald Trump on Sunday seemed to undercut his own secretary of state, tweeting that Rex Tillerson’s efforts to negotiate with North Korea were essentially useless.
“I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man…,” Trump tweeted, adding, “…Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!”
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The president’s remarks were rather startling, given the sensitive nature of international diplomacy.
Speaking in China, Tillerson said Saturday that the United States was in direct communication with North Korea in an effort to reduce tensions between the two longtime foes.
“The whole situation is a bit overheated right now,” said Tillerson, according to media reports. “If North Korea would stop firing its missiles, that would calm things down a lot.”
Trump’s tweet drew some startled reactions in the diplomatic field.
“Diplomacy not a favor we dispense but a critical national security tool for ourselves,” tweeted Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. “Potus truly misguided here-& SecState should resign.”
Carl Bildt, co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations, tweeted: “President Trump spectacularly shot down SecState Tillerson after important Beijing talks. How long can this last?”