Tiller­son says Trump ‘undis­ci­plined’; Trump replies he’s ‘dumb as a rock’

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON: For­mer US sec­re­tary of state Rex Tiller­son said Don­ald Trump was ‘undis­ci­plined’ and re­peat­edly wanted to break the law – lead­ing the US pres­i­dent to re­spond that his one­time cab­i­net mem­ber was ‘dumb as a rock.’

Tiller­son, who was fired in March, made no at­tempt to deny his poor re­la­tion­ship with Trump dur­ing a rare in­ter­view Thurs­day night as part of a char­ity din­ner in his na­tive Texas.

“I think part of it was ob­vi­ously we are starkly dif­fer­ent in our styles. We did not have a com­mon value sys­tem,” Tiller­son told vet­eran jour­nal­ist Bob Schi­ef­fer of CBS News, which broad­cast an ex­cerpt of the in­ter­view.

“I’d have to say to him, ‘Well, Mr Pres­i­dent, I un­der­stand what you want to do, but you can’t do it that way – it vi­o­lates the law, it vi­o­lates a treaty.’”

“He got re­ally frustrated,” he said.

“I think he grew tired of me be­ing the guy ev­ery day that told him you can’t do that and let’s talk about what we can do.”

Trump voiced anger hours later in a harsh tweet, say­ing that Tiller­son “didn’t have the men­tal ca­pac­ity needed” to be the top US diplo­mat.

“He was dumb as a rock and I couldn’t get rid of him fast enough. He was lazy as hell. Now it is a whole new ball­game, great spirit at State!” Trump wrote from Air Force One as he re­turned from a con­fer­ence in Kansas City about crime.

Trump praised Tiller­son’s suc­ces­sor, the brusque for­mer con­gress­man and CIA chief Mike Pom­peo, for ‘do­ing a great job.’

He be­comes the lat­est cab­i­net mem­ber on which Trump has turned his knives. He re­peat­edly de­nounced at­tor­ney-gen­eral Jeff Ses­sion, who was ousted last month, as ‘very weak’ for not block­ing a probe into whether the Trump pres­i­den­tial cam­paign col­luded with Rus­sia.

Tiller­son, a for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive of oil gi­ant ExxonMo­bil, had no govern­ment ex­pe­ri­ence and had never met Trump when his nom­i­na­tion was pro­moted by Repub­li­can Party in­sid­ers, who hoped for a sta­ble fig­ure who could nonethe­less ap­peal to the ty­coon-turned­pres­i­dent with his out­sider sta­tus and busi­ness back­ground.

But Tiller­son im­me­di­ately strug­gled to fit in, fo­cus­ing on in­ter­nal State Depart­ment stream­lin­ing rather than broader for­eign pol­icy goals and avoid­ing the press as his rap­port frayed with Trump.

“It was chal­leng­ing for me com­ing from the dis­ci­plined, highly process-ori­ented ExxonMo­bil Corp 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,” Tiller­son said at the event in Hous­ton.

Trump is proudly an­ti­in­tel­lec­tual, say­ing that he suc­ceeds by fol­low­ing his in­stincts and knows bet­ter than ex­perts.

Asked about his read­ing habits in an in­ter­view shortly af­ter tak­ing of­fice, Trump said he was ‘look­ing at a book’ but was dis­tracted by phone calls ev­ery time he tried to get started.

When he se­lected him, Trump of­fered a vastly dif­fer­ent as­sess­ment of Tiller­son than on Fri­day, say­ing his “tenac­ity, broad ex­pe­ri­ence and deep un­der­stand­ing of geopol­i­tics” made him an “ex­cel­lent choice.”

But it quickly be­came clear that the two had lit­tle chem­istry.

Just as Tiller­son was vis­it­ing Asia last year and speak­ing of lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with North Korea, Trump tweeted that he was “wast­ing his time.”

Pom­peo has faced no such back­lash from Trump and has trav­eled four times to Py­ongyang.

Trump also used Twit­ter to an­nounce Tiller­son’s fir­ing and, in a fi­nal in­dig­nity, the White House made it known that the na­tion’s top diplo­mat was on the toi­let when he learned the news. — AFP

File photo shows Trump (left) speak­ing af­ter Tiller­son was sworn in as Sec­re­tary of State in the Oval Of­fice at the White House in Wash­ing­ton, DC. — AFP photo

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