Tillerson shuns all but conservative website on Asia tour

Tillerson shuns all but conservative website on Asia tour

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking March 16 in Japan in one of his first press availabilities since becoming America's top diplomat, offered support for a Trump administration proposal to slash the State Department's budget by nearly 30%.

In a letter to the staff of the department, Tillerson said that the move indicates a change of priorities for the agency, reflecting a "restatement" of USA needs.

"The invitation is a testament to McPike's tenacious, detailed brand of reporting", Skatell said.

According to the outlet, the State Department offered reporter Erin McPike a spot on Tillerson's trip to Asia, but did not say why he was chosen. Major foreign policy initiatives, such as they exist in this administration, seem to have been taken away from the department.

He was reacting to President Donald Trump's plans to cut the department's budget by 28 percent.

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The former Exxon Mobil Corp. chief, who has yet to hold a media briefing in the six weeks since his Senate confirmation, bucked a tradition dating back decades in not taking a full complement of reporters on his trip, which will include stops in Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing.

"It was made a decision to take a journalist from an outlet that doesn't normally travel with the Secretary of State, as part of an effort to include a broader representation of US media", Toner said.

State Department Acting Spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement that there was only one seat available on Tillerson's plane for media. In past cases when press access was limited, the State Department arranged for a journalist to join and send pool reports to other news outlets.

Tillerson will visit China, Japan and South Korea this week amid rising concern over North Korea's recent missile testing in the region.

Tillerson admitted it would be challenging but said he accepted that challenge "willingly". Another founder, Phil Musser, was once executive director of the Republican Governors Association and worked in the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the administration of George W. Bush.

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