House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) cast both President Donald Trump's nomination and firing of outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as evidence of Trump's acquiescence to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
When Trump first tapped the Exxon Mobil CEO for secretary in December 2016, Pelosi issued a press release attacking the choice, slamming him as "an oil executive friendly with Vladimir Putin."
"Rex Tillerson’s cozy relationship with the Kremlin is especially alarming in light of his attitude toward sanctions over Russia’s aggressive behavior in Europe, while at the same time the President-elect continues to side with Russia over the judgment of the U.S. intelligence community," she wrote.
"Fawning over Putin is poor preparation for being the top diplomat of the United States of America," the statement concluded.
But when Trump fired Tillerson Tuesday, that was also evidence the president was too weak on Russia.
"Secretary Tillerson’s firing sets a profoundly disturbing precedent in which standing up for our allies against Russian aggression is grounds for a humiliating dismissal," Pelosi wrote. "President Trump’s actions show that every official in his Administration is at the mercy of his personal whims and his worship of Putin."
"Whenever Tillerson’s successor goes into meetings with foreign leaders, his credibility will be diminished as someone who could be here today and gone tomorrow. Continuity in our diplomatic personnel and policies are vital for championing American security, values, and interests," she continued.
While Tillerson was fired the day after accusing Putin of poisoning a U.K. spy, the New York Times had been reporting for months that Trump was planning to fire him. The president and Tillerson were reported to have disagreed on a number of key issues, including North Korea, moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the removal of the United States from the Paris climate agreement, and the Iran nuclear deal.
Trump's choice for Tillerson's replacement, CIA chief Mike Pompeo, is also vocally anti-Putin.
Russia "has reasserted itself aggressively, invading and occupying Ukraine, threatening Europe, and doing nothing to aid in the destruction and defeat of ISIS," Pompeo said during his confirmation hearing in January of 2017.