Trump blasts back at Tillerson, saying he’s ‘dumb as a rock’
President Donald Trump denounced his first secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, as “dumb as a rock” and “lazy as hell” Friday after Tillerson said the president had regularly pushed him to take actions that were illegal.
Trump, who fired Tillerson with a Twitter post in March, lashed back at him the same way after the former secretary gave a talk in Houston and said Trump was undisciplined, did not like to read and did not respect the limits of his office.
“Mike Pompeo is doing a great job, I am very proud of him,” Trump wrote Friday afternoon, referring to the current secretary. “His predecessor, Rex Tillerson, didn’t have the mental capacity needed. 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!”
The caustic war of words came after a week in which Washington extolled civility as it bade farewell to former President George H.W. Bush and his “kinder and gentler” brand of leadership.
Elsewhere in the same city just hours later, Tillerson, the former chief executive of Exxon Mobil, took the stage for a benefit for the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at which he presented a blistering account of the president he served.
“It was challenging for me coming from the disciplined, highly processoriented Exxon Mobil Corporation 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, ‘Look, this is what I believe,’” Tillerson said.
Trump, he added, kept pressing for actions beyond his authority.
“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,’” Tillerson said. “It violates the law.”
Often, he said, Trump would get frustrated.
Tillerson tried, but he and Trump were clearly not in sync.
Tillerson grew frustrated with what he saw as a president out of his depth.