President Trump took a break from his Twitter tirade against Special Counsel Robert Mueller Friday to hurl insults at his former secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, describing him as “dumb as a rock” and “lazy as hell.”
The tweet apparently came in response to Tillerson’s remarks Thursday saying that President Trump would “often” ask him to do things that were illegal during his 13-month tenure as America’s top diplomat.
“Often, the president would say here’s what I want to do and here’s how I want to do it,” Tillerson recalled at a fundraiser for the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. “And I would have to say to him, ‘Mr. President, I understand what you want to do but you can’t do it that way. It violates the law.’”
Tillerson, formerly the chief executive of ExxonMobil, had no experience in public office and was considered a surprise pick for secretary of state. Trump lavishly praised his business experience and predicted he would be a “star.”
In March, Trump announced his firing and replacement by Mike Pompeo in a tweet, thanking Tillerson for his service.
Tillerson did not specify which of Trump’s wishes he viewed to be illegal. But the push-back frustrated Trump, Tillerson said.
The former ExxonMobil chief executive said he would instead offer to lobby Congress to pass legislation that would enable the president to act legally.
“We can go back to Congress and get this law changed,” Tillerson said he told Trump. “And if that’s what you want to do, there’s nothing wrong with that.”
“I told him, ’I’m ready to go up there and fight the fight, if that’s what you want to do,’” Tillerson added.
Tillerson, who reportedly called Trump a “moron” after a discussion with the president about the country’s nuclear arsenal, was fired in March and replaced with Mike Pompeo.
“What was challenging for me coming from the disciplined, highly process-oriented ExxonMobil corporation [was] to go to work for a man who is pretty undisciplined, doesn’t like to read, doesn’t read briefing reports, doesn’t like to get into the details of a lot of things, but rather just kind of says, ’This is what I believe,’” he said of Trump.
Tillerson and Trump also clashed over the country’s approach to dealing with North Korea.
In October 2017, as Tillerson was negotiating with the rogue nuclear nation’s leader Kim Jong Un, Trump tweeted that his secretary of state was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.”
“Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!” the president tweeted.
The same month, Tillerson called a press conference to refute an NBC News report that Vice President Pence had to talk him out of resigning following Trump’s rambling, highly politicized speech to a gathering of Boy Scouts. The NBC report also said that after the speech Tillerson called Trump a “moron.”
When asked specifically if he had called the president a moron, Tillerson did not deny it, saying, “I’m not going to deal with petty stuff like that.” He repeatedly refused to deny making the remark.
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