Diplomats told CNN that they were surprised and miffed by guidance from the Trump administration to not post or retweet State Department messaging surrounding the ouster of Rex Tillerson.
In the aftermath of Tillerson's dismissal as secretary of state, Undersecretary of State Steven Goldstein released a statement saying that Tillerson was blindsided by the ouster and hadn't spoken to President Donald Trump.
"The secretary did not speak to the president this morning and is unaware of the reason, but he is grateful for the opportunity to serve, and still believes strongly that public service is a noble calling and not to be regretted," Goldstein said in the statement.
That got Goldstein fired, too, but it also generated guidance to the diplomats — don't propagate that. Goldstein's statement conflicted with the White House's position that Chief of Staff John Kelly informed Tillerson that he was being fired three days earlier.
That left diplomats confused; posting comments from the undersecretary of the State Department is generally perfunctory and accepted practice.
"That's not something you do in this country. ... The statement came from an undersecretary, and it was clear those were Tillerson's words. And he's still secretary of state," a senior State Department official told CNN.
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