Report: Diplomats Told to 'Avoid Eye Contact' With Tillerson; UPDATE: Fake News?

Posted: Mar 31, 2017 8:40 AM

Update: Matt Lee, a reporter for the Associated Press, is refuting the Washington Post's claim that diplomats were told to avoid eye contact with Tillerson. 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has kept a low profile at the department—so much so, in fact, that a new Washington Post report says many diplomats have yet to meet him while others were even instructed to avoid eye contact.

Many days, the Post reports, Tillerson keeps himself locked up in his office reading memos ahead of meetings.

“Most of his interactions are with an insular circle of political aides who are new to the State Department,” the Post adds. “Many career diplomats say they still have not met him, and some have been instructed not to speak to him directly — or even make eye contact.”

During his first few trips abroad, the secretary did not meet with State employees and families, as is customary. And he has preferred to leave the press pool at home.

Tillerson defended that decision earlier this month saying he’s “not a big media press access person.”

To the only reporter chosen by State to travel with him—Erin McPike of Independent Journal Review—he dismissed concerns about the message he was sending by restricting press access, noting that fewer reporters helps save money and allows the plane to “[fly] faster” and helps him “be more efficient.”  

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