by: the Common Constitutionalist
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Is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson next on the chopping block? Perhaps he should be.
Despite what you may think of Donald Trump, he’s still President of the United States and CEO of the Executive Branch. As such, all Cabinet secretaries serve at the behest and pleasure of the President.
This can be problem for some, particular those who have transitioned from the private sector, where they were the big cheese, and now must suddenly become a subordinate.
Recall the exchange at the White House after Ronald Reagan was shot, when Alexander Haig uttered his infamous statement – as of now, I’m in charge, comment.
“Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the president, the vice president and the secretary of state, in that order, and should the president decide he wants to transfer the helm to the vice president, he will do so,” Haig explained to reporters in the White House press room, apparently forgetting that the House speaker and the Senate’s president pro tempore come before the secretary of state in the line of succession. And then, in a dozen words that would become famous, he said, “As of now, I am in control here, in the White House.”
Of course he wasn’t, but he was used to being in charge, so in my opinion, this was just a natural, although knee-jerk and ignorant reaction. He had been an important man for decades, as an Army General, then Chief of Staff to Nixon and Ford, and Secretary of State to Reagan.