NBC Chastises Tillerson for State Dept. ‘Turmoil,’ Ignores Dem Obstruction

With President Trump set to address the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, NBC Nightly News spent a portion of Monday night’s broadcast slamming Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and spreading rumors of his removal. Their gripe was over the fact that key positions inside his department had yet to be filled. The network’s Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell whined about it while neglecting to mention the unprecedented obstruction by Senate Democrats with confirmations.

As the President prepares to address the U.N. for the first time, there is turmoil swirling around his foreign policy team,” moaned Anchor Lester Holt as he introduced the segment. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accused of crippling the department he's charged with leading while at the same time facing pressure from another high-profile administration figure.

Hillary Clinton super-fan Mitchell was obviously eager to get her claws into Tillerson when she started her report by bizarrely mocked how Trump was at the U.N. with U.S. U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and not Tillerson. She also mocked Tillerson by claiming he was “heralded when he arrived as a management whiz [but] Now widely criticized for presiding over a State Department where nobody's home.

 

 

Mitchell then proceeded to rail against Tillerson for leaving key positions in the State Department vacant:

Out of six under-secretaries only one, an Obama holdover, is in place. And of 26 assistant secretaries, there's only one Trump appointee. Key embassies without an ambassador in South Korea, Afghanistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and India. Foreign diplomats telling NBC News they have no one to call.

What Mitchell failed to mention was the unprecedented obstruction by Senate Democrats with their confirmations. As proof of this: Two of the ambassadorships she whined about, Afghanistan and India both had nominees but they’re still waiting for the process to proceed. And as reported by The Washington Post, only 22 of the State Department nominees had been confirmed with another 39 awaiting confirmation. Many of those are ambassadorships.

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And it’s not just Trump’s State Department feeling the pain. The Post also noted that out of Trump’s 345 total nominations, less than half (140) have been confirmed. That leaves another 196 nominees held-up by Senate Democrats, while 9 nominations had failed.

The nominees were also facing the longest confirmation process of any recent administration at 56 days for each one, the maximum time allowed.

And on top of the Tillerson bashing, Mitchell wrapped up her report by pushing rumors that Tillerson was on his way out and Haley was looking for his job. “In the wings, the high-profile U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. Could she be angling for his job,” she asserted. “A rivalry now so intense one State Department official pointed out Haley thought it was more important to appear at the White House Friday than attend a crisis meeting on North Korea at the U.N.

Mitchell could just be following the lead of her beloved Hillary Clinton, who went on MSNBC late last week and decried President Trump and Secretary of State Tillerson on the same topic.

Transcript below:

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NBC Nightly News
September 18, 2017
7:07:41 PM Eastern

LESTER HOLT: As the President prepares to address the U.N. for the first time, there is turmoil swirling around his foreign policy team. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accused of crippling the department he's charged with leading while at the same time facing pressure from another high-profile administration figure. We get details from our Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell.

[Cuts to video]

ANDREA MITCHELL: The President's first meeting at the U.N. today with U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley close behind. Not the nation's top diplomat Rex Tillerson. Heralded when he arrived as a management whiz.

REX TILLERSON: Hi, I'm the new guy.

MITCHELL: Now widely criticized for presiding over a State Department where nobody's home. Out of six under-secretaries only one, an Obama holdover, is in place. And of 26 assistant secretaries, there's only one Trump appointee. Key embassies without an ambassador in South Korea, Afghanistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and India. Foreign diplomats telling NBC News they have no one to call. Tillerson, the first secretary of state in memory to not personally deliver the State Department's yearly Human Rights Report.

JOHN MCCAIN: There's a perception that the United States has abandoned its fundamental of our foreign policy and that is respect for human rights.

MITCHELL: Tillerson telling the London embassy staff last week his top priority –

TILLERSON: The most important thing I can do is to enable this organization to be more effective, more efficient.

MITCHELL: Proposing such drastic State Department cuts, the Republican Senate insisted on adding $11 billion to the budget. Slamming Tillerson’s proposal as a doctrine of retreat that would weaken America's standing in the world.

RICHARD HAASS: They don't call it foreign relations for nothing. It's about relationships, it's about consultations, it's about negotiations. You need people to do that.

MITCHELL: In the wings, the high-profile U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. Could she be angling for his job?

NIKKI HALEY: Well, I'm not going to be asked because Rex Tillerson is not going anywhere.

[Cuts back to live]

MITCHELL: A rivalry now so intense one State Department official pointed out Haley thought it was more important to appear at the White House Friday than attend a crisis meeting on North Korea at the U.N. Lester?

HOLT: Andrea, thank you.


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