There are many theories as to what led to the dismissal by tweet of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Tillerson and Trump had a rocky passage together, no question, but could Trump have fired Tillerson to protect son-in-law Jared? As you recall, the Qataris were approached to bail out Jared’s underwater 666 building, they refused, and ten days later Qatar found itself under a blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt. That got the ball rolling. Forward:
The blockade was strenuously opposed by Tillerson, who called on the ATQ to ease it. But he was contradicted by none other than Trump himself, who said that Qatar “has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level.”
Tillerson was reportedly enraged. And he blamed one person for Trump’s support of the blockade: Jared Kushner. “Rex put two-and-two together,” his close associate told reporters, “and concluded that this absolutely vacuous kid was running a second foreign policy out of the White House family quarters.”
Enter reports linking Trump advisers George Nader and Elliott Broidy to the UAE. In a hacked memo written by Broidy, he suggested that Tillerson was “performing poorly and should be fired at a politically convenient time.”
Not only is Broidy a close associate of Trump, he is also an adviser to the UAE Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. In an email, Broidy confirms that he was trying to broker a meeting with Trump. “I offered that MBZ [the crown prince] is available to come to the U.S. very soon and preferred a quiet meeting in New York or New Jersey. President Trump agreed that a meeting with MBZ was a good idea,” Mr Broidy wrote.
Indeed, despite the months long Gulf crisis, which has pitted the so-called ATQ against Qatar, Qatar has since the standoff erupted worked hard to rebuild relations with the White House. Earlier this week, NBC News reported that Qatari officials had apparently “gathered evidence” on Kushner and other Trump associates about a conspiracy against their emir by the UAE, but decided not to give the information to Special Counsel Robert Mueller for fear of harming relations with the Trump-administration.
Given these dynamics, it is at least plausible that Trump sought to protect his son in-law from damaging media coverage centering on collusion with the governments of Russia and UAE by firing Tillerson.
Tillerson was decried by the UAE and the Saudis as the worst secretary of state in decades, but he was actually increasingly respected by foreign policy professionals for at least attempting to provide a moderating influence on Trump, whereas Kushner is considered grossly unqualified by all. It’s universally known that he and Ivanka are in their senior adviser positions due to nepotism and nepotism alone. Anybody who has ever appeared to take Jarvanka seriously is someone who is attempting to use them.
Blood may be thicker than water but if Trump actually fired Tillerson to protect Kushner it’s just going to be one more double black eye on America in the opinion of the world. But maybe that’s what happened.
The only thing predictable about Trump’s Washington is its utter unpredictability.