Conservative news site only media outlet on Tillerson's flight to Asia

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday went to bat for President Donald Trump, defending the administration's proposed cuts to the State Department's budget.

"The invitation is a testament to McPike's tenacious, detailed brand of reporting", Skatell said.

The department had said that Tillerson would not take journalists with him as he was traveling on a small plane.

Those 15-odd reporters normally travel on the same Air Force Boeing jetliner made available for the secretary of state, with each news outlet paying its reporter's way for a seat on the aircraft.

Now Tillerson has angered U.S. and foreign correspondents accredited to cover the State Department by traveling to Asia on Tuesday with just one journalist - from a conservative publication called the Independent Journal Review.

Tillerson will visit China, Japan and South Korea this week amid rising concern over North Korea's recent missile testing in the region. "I'm not saying this is going to be the norm going forward".

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News organizations pay the US government for the cost of their travel. "We could not accommodate press", Toner told reporters.

The conservative-leaning IJR said in a statement late on Tuesday that the State Department last week offered the seat on Tillerson's plane.

Speaking in Tokyo at the start of a trip to Asia focused on the threat from North Korea, Tillerson defended the cuts as a necessary correction to a "historically high" budget that had grown to address conflicts overseas in which the United States was engaged, as well as disaster aid.

McPike is a White House correspondent for IJR, and previously reported for CNN, Real Clear Politics, NBC News, and National Journal, according to IJR's website when she joined in February.

"We understand the challenge", the former Exxon Mobil CEO said. Another founder, Phil Musser, was once executive director of the Republican Governors Association and worked in the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the administration of George W. Bush.

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