Donald Trump once praised his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for his “vast experience,” claiming the former Exxon chief executive was the “most prepared” person for the top diplomatic role. Now Trump says his hand-picked secretary of state is “dumb as a rock” and was “ill-prepared and ill-equipped” for the job.
The attack follows a meeting Tillerson had with the House Foreign Affairs committee this week in which he told lawmakers that Russian President Vladimir Putin was far more prepared than Trump for a key meeting in Germany. When asked to describe Trump’s values during the discussion, Tillerson reportedly could not.
The characterization has clearly angered the president. In addition to deriding his former Secretary of State’s intellect, Trump also accused Tillerson of fabricating his testimony to the committee.
Rex Tillerson, a man who is “dumb as a rock” and totally ill prepared and ill equipped to be Secretary of State, made up a story (he got fired) that I was out-prepared by Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Hamburg, Germany. I don’t think Putin would agree. Look how the U.S. is doing!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2019
The attack is the latest in the dramatic fall-out between the two men. The fast-deteriorating relationship took an especially public turn in October 2017 following a report that Tillerson privately referred to Trump as a “moron.” In an awkward news conference days later, Tillerson pushed back on certain elements of the story but never denied the “moron” claim. “I’m not going to deal with petty stuff like that,” he responded when asked about the alleged remark.
The thing I like best about Rex Tillerson is that he has vast experience at dealing successfully with all types of foreign governments.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2016
When asked how Trump could insult Tillerson as ill-equipped when he himself handpicked the former Exxon chief to lead the State Department, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not answer the question. She instead claimed that no one had been tougher on Russia than Trump.
Pres. Trump just blasted former Sec. of State Rex Tillerson as “dumb as a rock” after Tillerson told lawmakers that Putin was more prepared than Trump in their Hamburg meeting.@PressSec responds: “The President’s meeting with Putin went extremely well.” https://t.co/xOjl45ECNt pic.twitter.com/8rWfm6xrc8
— New Day (@NewDay) May 23, 2019