As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Tag Archives: Rex Tillerson

Trump Told Tillerson to Eat a Wilted Chinese Salad

According to the Wall Street Journal:

In a private room in China’s Great Hall of the People in November, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sat with President Donald Trump and other U.S. officials as their hosts delivered plates of wilted Caesar salad.

Mr. Trump, in the midst of a five-country tour of Asia, grew concerned the untouched greens would offend the Chinese, according to people familiar with the matter. So he ordered Mr. Tillerson to start. “Rex,” he said, “eat the salad.”

Mr. Tillerson laughed off the remark, but the moment illustrated the at-times awkward relationship between the secretary of state and his boss that came to an abrupt end Tuesday when Mr. Trump announced in a tweet that he had replaced him.

This is interesting for a couple of reasons. First of all, the press likes to portray Trump as so focused on himself that he hardly notices anything else. The remarks about the salad suggests a sensitivity to others’ perceptions that I believe Trump has and that many would find surprising.

The other point is that if Tillerson laughed off the request, I’m sure it infuriated Trump, because he was probably more than half serious. And eating a wilted salad is – I’m just guessing here – a bit less of a sacrifice for one’s country than others have made.

The Chinese are not quite famous for their Caeser’s salad – in fact, I’ve never seen a slice of bread or a leaf of salad in a Chinese restaurant – and were no doubt crestfallen that they’d got it wrong!

And now they’re claiming rights all over the South China Sea, ripping us off on trade – see what you did, Rex?

Video || In Remarks, Tillerson Fails to Thank Trump

Secretary of State Tillerson said he will delegate all his responsibilities to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan at the end of the day today and officially resign March 31.

What’s he supposed to thank him for, the humiliation of being fired via Twitter? Trump finally did speak to Tillerson from aboard Air Force One some amount of time after announcing he was out.

Tillerson Out as Secretary of State; Trump to Nominate Pompeo

President Trump has ousted Secretary of State Tillerson, saying Tuesday that he will replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Gina Haspel, a longtime CIA official and currently the deputy director, will be nominated to become CIA director. She would be the first woman to do so. Both Pompeo and Haspel must be confirmed by Congress.

Trump announced the move via Twitter.

Tillerson’s departure has long been expected. He and Trump never bonded, and even many outside the administration questioned Tillerson’s suitability for the job.

Before departing the White House for California, Trump explained that he and Tillerson just weren’t on the same page:

Rex and I have been talking about this for a long time. We got along, actually, quite well but we disagreed on things. When you look at the Iran deal; I think it’s terrible, I guess he thought it was OK. I wanted to either break it or do something and he felt a little bit differently.

So we were not really thinking the same. With Mike, Mike Pompeo, we have a very similar thought process. I think it’s going to go very well. Rex is a very good man. I like Rex a lot. I really appreciate his commitment to service and I’ll be speaking to Rex over a long period of time . . . I actually got along well with Rex, but really it was a different mindset, a different thinking.

A spokesman for Tillerson told the Washington Post he “had every intention of staying” in his job and was “unaware of the reason” for his firing. The White House, but apparently not Trump, told Tillerson Friday that he would be leaving. Tillerson was traveling in Africa, and he cut the trip short.

A White House official Tuesday put out word that Trump wanted to have a new team in place before starting talks with North Korea and before he begins to embark on other discussions related to trade.

Haspel may be a controversial choice. While she has received rewards for her service, questions have been raised about her involvement with CIA detention sites. Nevertheless, despite his past conflicts with the agency, Trump has decided on what would appear to amount to a status quo choice by choosing from within its ranks.

For Tillerson, the announcement via Twitter amounts to a pretty unceremonious dumping. Usually with these things, there’s a small event at the Whtie House where the president and both the incoming and outgoing people make remarks and everyone pretends to be happy about the situation.

Trump did issue a statement thanking Tillerson, at least. “I want to thank Rex Tillerson for his service. A great deal has been accomplished over the last fourteen months, and I wish him and his family well,” Trump said.

Trump: Tillerson is Staying

Both the New York Times and the Washington Post are reporting that Secretary of State Tillerson has weeks, maybe months left. But Trump says he will not be leaving soon.

I dunno. Is Trump just trying to stick it to the media? Or were the stories orchestrated by White House people who want Tillerson out, without knowing what Trump’s mind is on the matter?

Either way, looks like Rex can have a Merry Christmas.

Tillerson Won’t Reply to “Petty” Charge He Called Trump a Moron

UPDATE: A Tillerson spokesperson later did deny the “moron” charge.

Secretary of State Tillerson today denied a report by NBC News that he wanted to resign, but he passed on responding to an allegation in the same report that he called President Trump a moron.

In fact, according to our reporting here, that story is false. He did not call the president a moron. He called him an imbecile.

Okay, that’s a bad joke, sorry. Trump, of course, is neither. Tillerson did say of Trump, “He’s smart,” which certainly is true, his critics notwithstanding.

From NBC News:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was on the verge of resigning this past summer amid mounting policy disputes and clashes with the White House, according to senior administration officials who were aware of the situation at the time.

The tensions came to a head around the time President Donald Trump delivered a politicized speech in late July to the Boy Scouts of America, an organization Tillerson once led, the officials said.

Just days earlier, Tillerson had openly disparaged the president, referring to him as a “moron,” after a July 20 meeting at the Pentagon with members of Trump’s national security team and Cabinet officials, according to three officials familiar with the incident.

In an unscheduled statement to reporters Wednesday morning, Tillerson directly addressed that version of events, saying, “I have never considered leaving this post.”

He praised Trump’s foreign policy agenda, saying he was part of a team to “make America great again.” But he did not deny calling the president a “moron,” declining to address that remark directly and saying, “I’m not going to deal with petty stuff like that.”

Here’s the reporter, Carol Lee, who broke the story discussing it:

Here is Tillerson’s response: