Bruen is certainly not wrong that Tillerson’s repudiation did not go over well in the White House, where the president reportedly “fumed privately” about his remarks. Less than 24 hours later, Axios’s Mike Allen reported on the possibility of the former oil exec’s ouster. Noting the president’s mounting frustration, Allen floated a musical-chairs style staffing shake-up that would see Haley taking over the State Department and send Dina Powell, currently the deputy national security adviser, to New York City to serve as ambassador to the U.N.
This soap-operatic reshuffle makes a surprising amount of sense to several diplomats I spoke with. To start with, hiring from outside has become a large problem in the Trump administration. “The president is going to have tremendous trouble finding qualified people to fill current and possibly future vacancies. When you have to disband a voluntary business advisory council because business and community leaders are embarrassed to be associated with you, it’s a pretty good indication that finding talent to leave their job and work for you is going to be tough,” Terry Sullivan, a top G.O.P. political consultant who worked on Marco Rubio’s 2016 campaign, told me. “I personally have résumés of numerous people working in the administration looking to get out. There aren’t very many people who are proud to be there right now . . . He now needs these folks a lot more than they need him.”