The State Department had previously told reporters covering Tillerson's trip to South Korea, Japan, and China that he would not be taking reporters on his plane and that they would have to fly commercially, breaking with decades of precedent stretching back to Henry Kissinger.
New to IJR, McPike is a White House correspondent; however, she does not cover the State Department.
"Clearly the level of spending that the State Department has been undertaking, particularly in this past year, is simply not sustainable", he said.
Only one reporter is accompanying Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on his trip to Asia this week: Erin McPike of the conservative site Independent Journal Review. In past cases when press access was limited, the State Department arranged for a journalist to join and send pool reports to other news outlets.
"A key component of foreign policy is being undercut by this", she added".
"The level of spending that the State Department has been undertaking, in particular this past year, is simply not sustainable", Tillerson said."As time goes by, there will be fewer military conflicts that the USA will be directly engaged in".
The travel offer came from the State Department, and "after editorial consultation, McPike accepted the seat", he said.
"Tillerson isn't opposed to cutting the budget at all, but he figured out that he couldn't win head-to-head battles with the president and the people close to him, so he's pursuing a different strategy, arguing that he can't make wise decisions about what to cut until he's more familiar with his department and its budget", said one of the current officials, a State Department veteran.
Up through Tuesday, just hours before Tillerson was scheduled to leave, the State Department declined to confirm whether there would be any reporters on Tillerson's 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.
He has drawn criticism from many State Department officials who believe he has failed to cultivate potential allies in Trump's cabinet and on Capitol Hill.
He said the situation was challenging, but that he took on the challenge that Trump had given him "willingly".