Questions of Donald Trump’s cabinet members’ loyalty arouse after two high-profile members -- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis -- seemingly contradicted the president on two major foreign policy concerns for the United States.
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On Wednesday, Tillerson rebuked an NBC News report that he had considered resigning in July amid conflicts with Trump, adamantly denying that he had ever contemplated quitting his post.
The report was set-off by Tillerson’s comments this weekend that he was open to conversing with the North Koreans through back channels. President Trump almost immediately refuted that plan on Twitter, lambasting that Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.”
I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 1, 2017
...Save your energy Rex, we'll do what has to be done!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 1, 2017
“He made a mistake in revealing the fact that we’ve got back channels to the North Koreans,” former Ronald Reagan adviser Pat Buchanan told FOX Business’ Lou Dobbs on “Lou Dobbs Tonight.” “I don’t think there’s any reason to do that and go public with it.”
On Tuesday, Mattis said in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee that he supported remaining in the Iran nuclear deal, the major foreign policy achievement under the Obama administration that curtails Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
Trump, who is currently weighing whether the U.S. should renew it before the Oct. 15 deadline, has been highly critical of the deal, once calling it the “worst deal” ever made.
“I don’t fault [Mattis] that much for it,” Buchanan said. “We just got the knowledge that a lot of us have suspected for a long time that many folks in there think we should sustain it because the losses from dumping it over would be great than any gain.”