Two men standing between Trump and an unfettered presidency

US Defence Secretary James Mattis (left) and US Special Counsel Robert Mueller. PHOTOS: AFP, REUTERS
Protesters against US President Donald Trump as well as his supporters gathering near his fundraiser in Beverly Hills, California, on Tuesday. Those working for Mr Trump, says the writer, must not show disloyalty or repeatedly clash with him on the big questions. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

And then there was one. With the exception of US Defence Secretary James Mattis, President Donald Trump has now cleared the decks of people who stand up to him.

The ousting of Mr Rex Tillerson, whose firing was announced on Twitter, eliminates the gap between Mr Trump's anti-globalist instincts and the stance of America's chief diplomat.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2018, with the headline 'Two men standing between Trump and an unfettered presidency'. Print Edition | Subscribe