Dear Commons Community,
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is coming under scrutiny for comments he made earlier this year about President Trump being a “moron”. Tillerson supposedly made the comment after Trump made a speech to the Boy Scouts of America. Here is an excerpt from a New York Times article reporting on Tillerson’s comment.
“Long-simmering tension within President Trump’s national security team spilled into public view on Wednesday as Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson took the extraordinary step of calling a news conference to affirm his support for Mr. Trump, despite what associates describe as his deep frustration with the president and talk of resignation.
Mr. Tillerson praised Mr. Trump but did not deny a report that he once referred to the president as a “moron.” Mr. Trump welcomed Mr. Tillerson’s statement of support and declared “total confidence” in his secretary of state.
If Mr. Tillerson had hoped to douse questions about how long he would stay, he instead further fueled a debate about his future. Although he insisted he had never considered resigning, several people close to Mr. Tillerson said he has had to be talked out of drafting a letter of resignation on more than one occasion by his closest allies, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff. And they said he has regularly expressed astonishment at how little Mr. Trump understands the basics of foreign policy.
A former chief executive of Exxon Mobil, Mr. Tillerson has never found his place as a subordinate to the hard-charging, unpredictable president. He has bristled at being undercut, as he was over the weekend when Mr. Trump publicly said Mr. Tillerson was “wasting his time” by trying to open talks with North Korea. At the same time, Mr. Tillerson has alienated lawmakers, foreign policy veterans and the news media while demoralizing the State Department, and critics inside and outside the White House consider his troubles self-inflicted…
…Mr. Tillerson has been frustrated for months, not just by Mr. Trump’s unpredictable policy positions but by his provocative leadership style. He publicly distanced himself when Mr. Trump blamed “both sides” for violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., and bristled when the president gave a political speech to the Boy Scouts of America, an organization Mr. Tillerson once headed. NBC reported that he was so offended by the Boy Scouts speech that he threatened not to return to Washington from a visit to Texas.
The episode that Mr. Tillerson called a real breaking point, according to associates, came when he was trying to mediate a dispute between the Persian Gulf state of Qatar and its Arab neighbors. The secretary had long told colleagues that relationships he built over decades in business made him uniquely qualified to broker a deal.
But he complained bitterly that he was undermined by Mr. Trump and Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, whom he accused of siding with the United Arab Emirates. When Mr. Tillerson publicly called for a “calm and thoughtful dialogue,” the president less than an hour later lashed out at Qatar as a financier of terrorism.”
It does not sound like Tillerson is long for his position as Secretary of State.