Nov 30, 2017

The Rex situation is simple

Photo: Cliff Owen / AP

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been politically dead for months; the only question is when they're going to hold his funeral.

Sound smart: CIA Director Mike Pompeo — as we first telegraphed — is an obvious choice for Trump as a replacement because the two have a stronger relationship than the president has with just about anybody else.

Here's why Tillerson is on the way out:

  • Trump can't stand him and has contradicted him on many major policy issues — from North Korea, to Iran, to Qatar, to Saudi Arabia.
  • He has no allies in the White House, few if any in the State Department beyond his innermost circle and he's managed to alienate even his tiny number of supporters on Capitol Hill.
  • His natural constituency would've been Democrats and moderates who view him and General Mattis as restraints on the president, but he lost that crowd because of what he's done to the State Department — a bungled reorganization and a failure to appoint people to top jobs.
  • He never had favor among mainstream Republicans in foreign policy circles because he's got a history of ignoring the human rights agenda to get business done.

Most damning of all: When foreign leaders and diplomats hear Tillerson speak, they know he's not speaking for the president. They know this because Trump makes it abundantly clear, in public.

Go deeper: How Rex Tillerson alienated every ally he needs

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Democrats lay out demands for coronavirus funding

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer released a joint statement Thursday outlining their demands for coronavirus funding, including a guarantee that the eventual vaccine is affordable.

The big picture: Pelosi criticized the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus outbreak, calling it "chaotic" and chiding President Trump for "name-calling" and "playing politics." She added at a press conference that bipartisan congressional leaders are nearing an agreement on emergency funding.

Coronavirus updates: Japan closes schools and Saudi Arabia bans holy site visits

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. As Denmark and Estonia reported their first cases Thursday, Scott Morrison, prime minister of Australia — which has 23 confirmed infections — told a news conference, "The risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Wall Street falls into correction territory as coronavirus rout intensifies

A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

The S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq all entered correction territory on Thursday, down 10% from their recent record highs amid a global market rout that began earlier this week following a spike in the coronavirus cases around the world.

The big picture: Stocks fell more than 3% for a time on Thursday morning, extending the market’s worst week since the financial crisis in 2008, according to CNBC.