State Department Directs Questions on Tillerson Absence to AP Reporter for Vacation Protocol

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson participates in a media availability May 18, 2017 at the State Department in Washington, DC. The State Department hosted a Strategic Dialogue on Disrupting Transnational Criminal Organizations. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

WASHINGTON – Former Fox News personality and current State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters at the State Department daily briefing Tuesday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was “taking a little time off” when reporters asked about inconsistencies in his published schedule and current status.

“When asked about the discrepancies between Tillerson’s public schedule and his reported movements, and why the department hadn’t updated the press on his whereabouts, Nauert said Tillerson ‘does have the ability to go away for a few days on his own,’” Business Insider reported.

“He’s got a lot of work,” Nauert said. “He just came back from that mega-trip overseas, as you all well know — many of you were over there with the G-20.”

When asked why she did not say Tillerson was on vacation, Nauert said she did not know the standard protocol for listing private days, telling reporters that Matt Lee, an Associated Press reporter, “would probably know,” according to Business Insider:

CNN reported during the weekend that Tillerson was considering leaving his post, saying that the former ExxonMobil CEO was growing frustrated with the Trump administration, but Nauert denied that report.

“The secretary has been very clear he intends to stay here at the State Department,” Nauert told reporters when asked about the resignation rumors, according to the Hill. “We have a lot of work that is left to be done ahead of us. He recognizes that.”

“He is deeply engaged in that work,” Nauert added.

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