Rex Tillerson, a billionaire businessman who was the long-time head of Exxon, may be smart enough to run an oil company, but as a diplomat on the world stage, he still has a lot to learn.
This past week as one of the Trump scandals broke - the one where Donald John posing as a statesman blurted out state secrets to two visiting Russian diplomats - Russian President Vladimir Putin, being ever so cutesy-putesy, offered to provide Congress with a transcript of the meeting that had occurred inside of the White House.
Journalist Andrea Mitchell seized on this bit of Russian bravado and turned it into a question which she then proceeded to ask Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Mitchell's question, in response to Putin's offer of a transcript of the meeting, was this: "Do you think the Russians are bugging the Oval Office?"
Tillerson, who is a bit of a cold fish when it comes to cultivating reporters or dealing with the public in general, stammered back: "I have no way of knowing that."
The answer was no doubt correct. How could someone as august and important as a United States Secretary of State possibly know if listening devices had been sprinkled among the ferns in the Oval Office or sewn into the historic room's curtains?
But, more importantly, how could he not know? Does the most heavily armed nation on earth just allow foreign agents to waltz in and out of its corridors of power planting bugs willy-nilly?
The answer should have been "no," Rex - and not "no" but "hell no!" When you speak to the press or to any diplomatic assemblage you are a voice of the nation, and not just the vocal expulsions of some bumbling bureaucrat. Putin was playing a game with his challenge to provide a transcript, and you ceded the diplomatic victory to him with your milque toast response.
Smarten up - or shuffle off!
Do the Russians have the Oval Office bugged? Hopefully the Secret Service will rip the place apart to find out for sure, but my guess would be that they do not. Why go to all of that trouble and expense to learn what the President is up to when they can just call Trump and ask him - or tell him!