Was ousted U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “friendly” with the Kremlim, or was he a strong leader willing to stand “against Russian aggression”? House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi appears to think he was both.
In 2016, when Tillerson was first nominated to be America’s top diplomat, Pelosi branded him “an oil executive friendly to Vladimir Putin,” and said his nomination “sends a disturbing signal about President-elect Trump’s priorities.
“The Secretary of State should champion American values, American security and American interests,” the California Democrat said then. “Fawning over Putin is poor preparation for being the top diplomat of the United States of America.”
But now that President Donald Trump has shown Tillerson the door, Pelosi seems almost sorry to see him go.
“Secretary Tillerson’s firing sets a profoundly disturbing precedent in which standing up for our allies against Russian aggression is grounds for a humiliating dismissal,” Pelosi said Tuesday.
What changed in the interim?
Pelosi’s reaction to Tillerson’s firing may have been inspired by those who pointed out that the departure came just hours after he said the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in Britain was “a really egregious act” that had “clearly” been ordered by Russia.
In other words, his recent criticism of Russia may have been more in line with the Democrats’ anti-Trump narrative.
Trouble is, Tillerson’s firing was the subject of speculation in the news for months.
And as for pointing the finger at Russia, Trump echoed Tillerson’s remarks about the spy’s death Tuesday, telling reporters that he agreed with British Prime Minister Theresa May that Russia was likely involved.
“It sounds to me like they believe it was Russia and I would certainly take that finding as fact,” Trump said.