Buchanan Says Tillerson Caused ‘Clash’ on Issues, Personality with Trump

Former communications director for President Ronald Reagan, the conservative firebrand says firing shows chief executive is 'unhesitant' in reshaping the Cabinet to his liking

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s ouster after 14 months on the job is a clear sign that he never was a great fit in the administration, Reagan White House veteran and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan said Wednesday.

“It was not only an issues clash in a number of areas — it was certainly a personality clash,” he said on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”

Buchanan (pictured above) said Tillerson’s designated successor, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, seems to have much better chemistry with President Donald Trump.

“Pompeo is obviously not your classic secretary of state, William Rogers type,” he said, referring to Richard Nixon’s top diplomat. “He’s very smart. He’s tough. He’s aggressive. West Point. And I think his personality very much matches that of Donald Trump.”

But Buchanan said Tillerson’s influence will be missed when it come to reluctance to engage in military adventures.

“I think he was at least one voice of caution in that inner Cabinet or inner sanctum of the top foreign-policy elites, who would say, ‘Let’s wait a minute and see before we do something,'” he said. “So I think that part is gonna be missed somewhat. This is all accelerator and no brake now.”

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But Trump, Buchanan said, is willing to make moves to bring cohesion to his team of advisers.

“Trump looked over his first year, his Cabinet, what he wanted, what he had, and he wanted to reshape it, and he’s unhesitant about going ahead and doing it … Quite clearly, Trump wants his own team, his own people he’s comfortable with, he agrees with, for his second year, and for the rest of his session,” he said.

Buchanan said he hopes America’s foreign-policy leaders shift focus away from the obsession de jour — Russia — and toward China.

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“They’re a giant country, 1.4 billion or 1.3 billion — 10 times the population of Russia, which is an aging country, which is a diminished country,” he said. “Which has a nationalist leader, but in the long term, Russia is not the challenge to the United States. The one that’s gonna build its own new world order is China.”

China has a long-term plan, while America does not, Buchanan said.

Related: Tillerson Doesn’t Thank Trump in Speech After His Ouster

“We are very far down this road,” he said. “You’ve got a $375 billion trade surplus in China’s favor, an $800 billion trade deficit of the United States overall. To turn that around is going to take a long process and, you know, a lot of ground has been lost that’s never gonna be recovered.”

Turning to domestic politics, Buchanan said he is not surprised by Democrat Conor Lamb’s apparent victory Tuesday in a special congressional election in a heavily Republican district in Pennsylvania.

Lamb worked hard, and his win suggests Democrats have a better than even chance to win control of the House in November’s midterm elections, Buchanan said. Noting that Lamb said he would not support House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as party leader, however, Buchanan said the victory is not necessarily good news for the current House Democratic leadership.

“I don’t see Pelosi as speaker in 2019, do you?” he said. “They need fresh leadership up there on the Hill. It’s very old and tired.”

PoliZette senior writer Brendan Kirby can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.

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