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Trump and the nation would be well served if his two leading Cabinet secretaries, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, played more prominent roles. Trump needs the solid outriggers that Mattis and Tillerson can provide. Mattis and Tillerson are stabilizers. Mattis and Tillerson aren't communicating much with the public, but they're talking to Trump and to each other, while they figure out the strategic positions this administration will take on key issues. Mattis famously did so on torture, and Tillerson did the same rebutting a presidential musing about abolishing the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.Mattis and Tillerson have three paramount tasks – matters of war and peace where their advice will be crucial for a beleaguered president with big ideas but limited experience.That's complicated by President Vladimir Putin's reckless covert action against the U.S. presidential election last year, and by Trump's courtship of Putin and his oligarchs, which was foolish, at best.
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