Trump Admin Threatens To Withdraw From UN Human Rights Council

Tillerson Said to Favor Leaner Meaner State Department

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent a letter this week to nine nonprofit groups opposed to withdrawal - including one affiliated with the American Jewish Committee - in which he explained that the United States may quit the council unless it makes reforms, Foreign Policy reported.

The IJR had said in its own statement that the State Department had moved last week to offer one of the outlet's reporters, Erin McPike, a place aboard Mr. Tillerson's aircraft for the trip to Asia, where the secretary of state began his diplomatic visit in Japan Wednesday.

Last week, the State Department announced that Tillerson would not allow the press to travel with him on his government plane during his trip to Japan, South Korea, and China, an extremely unusual step that will reportedly make it "exceedingly hard, if not impossible" for journalists to cover the proceedings.

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"We've been very clear, frankly, that this is a smaller footprint all around, and this is the secretary's decision, to travel with a smaller footprint", he said.

Alex Skatell, a founder of IJR, acknowledged the controversy about trip access in a statement on Tuesday.

A spokesman for IJR, Matt Manda, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether McPike would file pool reports to colleagues, or whether IJR had any comment on the SDCA's statement.

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The travel offer came from the State Department, and "after editorial consultation, McPike accepted the seat", he said. While she has years of experience covering Washington, she is not a State Department beat reporter. "We could not accommodate press", Toner told reporters.

"We may not share a common view on this, given the makeup of the membership", he wrote, as quoted in the report. In rare cases, particularly late in a secretary's tenure, some outlets have declined the invitations, such as for former Secretary John Kerry's December 2016 trip to Saudi Arabia.

Or Tillerson will switch back to a plane that can accommodate the diplomatic press corps, suggesting that the decision with regard to the Asia trip was arbitrary, meant to send a message to journalists: Act more like McPike, and you, too, can have access to the secretary.

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