WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, this evening made the following statement regarding a report that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will skip next month’s NATO ministerial meeting and later in April will travel to Russia:

“If reporting is accurate, Donald Trump's Administration is making a grave error that will shake the confidence of America's most important alliance and feed the concern that this Administration simply too cozy with Vladimir Putin.  I cannot fathom why the Administration would pursue this course except to signal a change in American foreign policy that draws our country away from western democracy's most important institutions and aligns the United States more closely with the autocratic regime in the Kremlin.

“If that's the case, it's an absolute disgrace and I'll do whatever I can to stop the United States from going down this path. If it's not the case, Secretary Tillerson needs to explain why he arrived at this troubling decision. We need to see him before the Foreign Affairs Committee soon to answer these questions.”