WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday that the transition to President-elect Donald Trump’s diplomatic team was “going pretty smoothly” since there had not been much contact or talks with Rex Tillerson, the man nominated to succeed him.
“It is going pretty smoothly because there’s not an enormous amount of it,” Kerry said during an appearance at the United States Institute of Peace.
Kerry said there had been no high-level meetings and he had not met with Tillerson, the former ExxonMobil CEO tapped by Trump to handle the new administration’s foreign policy.
“There are some people who’ve been in the building for a period of time, but, you know, quite candidly, I think there has not been a lot of high-level exchange at this point in time,” Kerry said. “I’m still expecting to meet with my successor at some point in the near term.”
Kerry said the transfer of power between different administrations was more complex, and that the immediate focus was on the Senate confirmation hearings for Trump’s nominees.
Tillerson, who is said to be on good terms with Russian President Vladimir Putin, will appear on Wednesday before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to open his confirmation hearings.
Kerry and other high-ranking Obama administration officials will leave office on Jan. 20, when Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.
The 70-year-old Trump, a billionaire New York real estate developer who defeated Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 presidential election, has criticized Obama’s foreign policy and promised a turnaround that will restore the United States’ role as leader of the world.