According to the State Department’s website, Tillerson made a total of one welcoming speech to Foggy Bottom and one brief readout from a meeting in his first month in office. For comparison, during John F. Kerry’s first month in office, he had delivered a similar welcoming speech, plus a speech at the University of Virginia, plus some 15 sets of readouts, plus a news conference. That’s a noticeable gap.
So is Tillerson invisibly beavering away at providing those essential but invisible components of foreign policy — or is he just invisible because he’s been marginalized?
The early signs are not promising. I noted last week that Tillerson seemed to be spending much of his time cleaning up after the president’s foreign policy foul-ups. Stories last week in Politico, Vox and The Washington Post all reported on his low profile and lack of influence within the Trump administration.