In his first extensive interview Tex Tillerson was asked why he did not bring the usual coterie of media people along with him on his trip to the Far East.
He answered: “I guess, what I’m told is that there’s this long tradition that the Secretary spends time on the plane with the press. I don’t know that I’ll do a lot of that. I’m just not … that’s not the way I tend to work. That’s not the way I tend to spend my time. I spend my time working on this airplane.”
Later he continued: “I’m not a big media press access person. I personally don’t need it. I understand it’s important to get the message of what we’re doing out, but I also think there’s only a purpose in getting the message out when there’s something to be done. And so we have a lot of work to do, and when we’re ready to talk about what we’re trying to do, I will be available to talk to people. But doing daily availability, I don’t have this appetite or hunger to be that, have a lot of things, have a lot of quotes in the paper or be more visible with the media.”
Near the end of the interview he said: “Look, I hope people in the media are, I don’t know how to explain it any better part of it is just the way my personal style is, but also, I’ve been very successful diplomatically for over 25 years. Done some really tough deals around the world with some really difficult governments and I’ve been successful because I was always able to respect their integrity and respect the fact that they have a population they have to take care of and the less I said about what we were trying to do in public, the easier it was for them to manage the outcome, and in the end we could be successful.” (my emphasis)
Reading that you have the desire to shout out: “Hey, Tex. You took a job in public service. You don’t represent Exxon anymore.”
A long tradition forget it, that’s not his style. “I’m just not … that’s not the way I tend to work. That’s not the way I tend to spend my time.” He seems not to understand he works for the people and not Exxon. He’s in a job where he is accountable to the people and not a board of directors. He is supposed to spend his time in a public office being accessible to the public. He works for us the American people.
As far the needs of the American people, you can also forget that. “I’m not a big media press access person. I personally don’t need it.” No one really cares what he needs, it is what the American people need and the job requires.
He has no clue that he is not Exxon president. “But doing daily availability, I don’t have this appetite or hunger to be that, have a lot of things, have a lot of quotes in the paper or be more visible with the media.” It seems he interested in doing things behind closed doors making deals in secret for profit.
He really seems oblivious that the media is there to enlighten the American people. He wants nothing to do with it as he did when he was dealing with enriching Exxon. He’s going to continue to operate as if he represents a corporation: “. . . it is just the way my personal style is, but also, I’ve been very successful diplomatically for over 25 years.”
And how did he do that? He kept the public in the dark. “I’ve been successful because I was always able to respect [that difficult governments] . . . have a population . . . and the less I said about what we were trying to do in public, the easier it was for them to manage the outcome, and in the end we could be successful.”
His goal is to do it the Exxon way: make deals that if disclosed to people would make them upset and the situation might get out of control.
Really: is this what we want in a Secretary of State? A guy who thinks of his personal convenience and makes deals that we will know nothing about. A guy who thinks like his boss that the bottom line is making money. A guy who thinks he has been successful in diplomacy because he could fill the pockets of government officials with money-making deals they wanted to hide while helping his company make profits.
Tex doesn’t sound like a public servant to me. He sounds more like a cowboy who has been out gazing at the moon ‘til he loses his senses. Let’s hope we don’t sell the Grand Canyon to China in exchange for a chain of Trump buildings and Exxon gas stations throughout China.