Expert Voices

Rexit undermines Tillerson's Africa trip

Rex Tillerson and president of Chad
Secretary Tillerson and Chad's President Idriss Deby after their meeting on March 12, 2018. Photo: Jonathan Ernst / AFP / Getty Images

There were no real surprises during the erstwhile Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Africa. It is likely to be remembered merely for preceding his firing by President Donald Trump, which the White House linked to upcoming negotiations with North Korea, rather than to anything about his Africa trip.

Why it matters: Trump and Tillerson had little personal chemistry and a host of policy differences, so the transition was expected. However, removing Tillerson at the tail-end of his first major official trip to Africa undercuts whatever promises he made or good will he may have won with African leaders, and would seem to be another manifestation of the administration’s disregard for the continent.