CABINET/FOREIGN POLICY/NATO/STATE/TRUMP PEOPLE/REX TILLERSON: “U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will skip a meeting of North Atlantic Treaty Organization foreign ministers next month, the State Department announced.
It is highly unusual for a U.S. Secretary of State to miss a NATO meeting. In the past 21 years, America’s top diplomat has missed a gathering only twice. The last time was in 2003, during the Iraq war, when Colin Powell canceled his attendance at the last moment.
President Donald Trump was highly critical of the alliance during his presidential campaign, describing it as obsolete. Since taking office he has been more supportive, but he has stepped up pressure on allies—most recently Germany—to spend more on defense.
Mr. Trump is currently scheduled to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida at the time of the NATO meeting.”
-Julian E. Barnes, “Rex Tillerson to Miss Next NATO Meeting,” The Wall Street Journal online, March 21, 2017