The handoff from President Barack Obama’s State Department to President-elect Donald Trump’s State Department is “going pretty smoothly,” Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday. Sort of.
“It’s going pretty smoothly because there’s not an enormous amount of it,” Kerry said Tuesday morning during a moderated discussion with Judy Woodruff of “PBS NewsHour.”
Speaking at the U.S. Institute of Peace’s Passing the Baton conference, Kerry said he hasn’t met former ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson, who as Trump’s secretary of state nominee will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday morning.
“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 comparison from his transition into the State Department, which came after Hillary Clinton’s departure in 2013, to Tillerson’s is “like night and day.”
“It’s a different thing when you have the same administration continuing with a lot of people already in place, versus a shift of parties and a complete tabula rasa — a restart,” he said. “I think, in fairness, that there is automatically a focus on hearings, and that’s a pretty internal process. So there’s time yet for ample debriefing, et cetera. I think, you know, we don’t yet know who a lot of the players are gonna be at other levels so it’s been fairly limited just by definition.”