Mar 18, 2017

Rex Tillerson finally speaks

Alex Brandon / AP

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has given an interview in his new role. Highlights from his conversation with IJR's Erin McPike:

  • The big question on China: "I think there's a question, perhaps even in the minds of the Chinese: How will the American people, the Chinese people, live with each other in this world for the next half century?"
  • Denied cutting short his meeting with the South Koreans: "They never invited us for dinner, then at the last minute they realized that optically it wasn't playing very well in public for them, so they put out a statement that we didn't have dinner because I was tired."
  • On Trump's North Korea tweet, which said: "North Koreans are behaving badly and China has done little to help." Tillerson said it came without warning, but was in line with their private conversations.
  • Defended his decision to only take one reporter (McPike) on his plane: "[W]e're trying to save money ... and we're going to destinations that, by and large, the media outlets have significant presence already... I spend my time working on this airplane. The entire time we're in the air, I'm working."

Go deeper

American carnage

Protesters race up a hill to avoid tear gas in Philadelphia, June 1. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The list of victims has swiftly grown since George Floyd died in police custody just eight days ago.

The big picture: Protests against police brutality have turned into a showcase of police brutality, with tear gas and rubber bullets deployed against crowds. The police have the arsenals at their disposal, but we're also seeing law enforcement officers becoming targets.

McConnell blocks resolution condemning Trump's actions against peaceful protesters

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked a resolution introduced by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday that would have condemned the use of tear gas and rubber bullets against peaceful protesters outside the White House on Monday in order to allow President Trump to walk to St. John's Church.

What they're saying: "Justice for black Americans in the face of unjust violence, and peace for our country in the face of looting, riots, and domestic terror. Those are the two issues Americans want addressed," McConnell said on the Senate floor.

George W. Bush breaks silence on George Floyd

Goerge Bush in Michigan in 2009. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Former President George W. Bush (R) wrote in a statement Tuesday that he and his wife, Laura, are "anguished" by the death of George Floyd, and said that "it is time for America to examine our tragic failures."

Why it matters: It's a stark juxtaposition when compared to fellow Republican President Trump's response to current civil unrest. While Trump has called for justice in Floyd's death, he's also condemned protestors and threatened to deploy military personnel if demonstrations continue.