Trump: Tiller­son ‘dumb as a rock’

Pres­i­dent lashes out after ex­aide crit­i­cizes him as ‘undis­ci­plined’

The Dallas Morning News - - Front Page - By TOM BENNING Wash­ing­ton Bureau tben­[email protected]­las­news.com

WASH­ING­TON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Fri­day called Rex Tiller­son, his for­mer sec­re­tary of state, “dumb as a rock” and “lazy as hell” after the Texan crit­i­cized him as an “undis­ci­plined” leader who “doesn’t like to read” and can’t grasp le­gal lim­its.

“I couldn’t get rid of him fast enough,” the pres­i­dent wrote on Twit­ter, us­ing the oc­ca­sion to also make clear that he was “very proud” of Tiller­son’s re­place­ment, Mike Pom­peo.

The du­el­ing digs formed the lat­est bizarre chap­ter in the duo’s re­la­tion­ship, one that started with prom­ise over the meet­ing of two busi­ness minds, then soured last year amid re­ports that Tiller­son had called Trump a “mo­ron,” and fi­nally ended in March

when the pres­i­dent fired Tiller­son by tweet.

Tiller­son has avoided the spot­light since he left the State De­part­ment. But that changed Thurs­day night when he spoke at a fundraiser in Hous­ton for M.D. An­der­son Can­cer Cen­ter.

The for­mer Exxon Mo­bil CEO, in com­ments first re­ported by the Hous­ton Chron­i­cle, gave Trump an un­flinch­ingly dis­mal job re­view, ex­plain­ing that he fre­quently clashed with a pres­i­dent who “doesn’t like to get into the de­tails of a lot of things.”

“So of­ten, the pres­i­dent would say, ‘Here’s what I want to do, and here’s how I want to do it,’ 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 said.

Tiller­son, stat­ing the ob­vi­ous, said Trump had a much dif­fer­ent style than his own.

“He acts on his in­stincts, and in some re­spects, that looks like im­pul­sive­ness,” Tiller­son told the mod­er­a­tor, CBS News’ Bob Schi­ef­fer, ac­cord­ing to The Wash­ing­ton Post. “But it’s not his in­tent to act on im­pulse. I think he’s try­ing to act on his in­stincts.”

That ap­proach was worlds away from Tiller­son’s stan­dard — the “dis­ci­plined, high­ ly process­ori­ented Exxon Mo­bil cor­po­ra­tion,” he said.

“I didn’t know how to con­duct my af­fairs with him any other way than in a very straight­for­ward fash­ion,” Tiller­son said, ac­cord­ing to Politico. “And 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.’ ”

Tiller­son also lamented the ef­fec­tive­ness of Trump’s bom­bas­tic Twit­ter ac­count.

“I will be hon­est with you,” he said, ac­cord­ing to the Chron­i­cle. “It trou­bles me that the Amer­i­can peo­ple seem to want to know so lit­tle about is­sues that they are sat­is­fied with 128 char­ac­ters.”

Trump’s re­sponse Fri­day to Tiller­son’s cri­tique was true to form.

While Trump early on had called Tiller­son a “world class player and deal­maker” and “one of the truly great busi­ness lead­ers of the world,” the pres­i­dent didn’t hold back last year when re­ports emerged that his sec­re­tary of state had called him a mo­ron.

Even as he dis­missed Tiller­son’s al­leged in­sult as “fake news,” he said at the time that if the diplo­mat “did that, I guess we’ll have to com­pare IQ tests.”

“I can tell you who is go­ing to win,” Trump said then.

REX TILLER­SON spoke in Hous­ton.

2017 File Photo/agence France­presse

Rex Tiller­son, shown after be­ing sworn in as sec­re­tary of state, says he fre­quently clashed with Don­ald Trump, who “doesn’t like to get into the de­tails of a lot of things.”

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