Tillerson on Trump: “We did not have a common value system”

Rex Tillerson listens manfully as Trump rants to his cabinet about God knows what.Chris Kleponis/CNP via ZUMA

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Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson talked to Bob Schieffer last night about his year working for Donald Trump. Unsurprisingly, he described Trump as:

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 says this is what I believe, and you can try to convince me otherwise, but most of the time you’re not going to do that.

And then there was this:

We are starkly different in our styles, we did not have a common value system. When 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, it violates a treaty—he got really frustrated….I think he grew tired of me being the guy every day who told him he can’t do that, and let’s talk about what we can do.

Hmmm. “We did not have a common value system.” I assume that Tillerson thinks of himself as an honest person, which means he thinks of Trump as a liar and a crook. He’s just too polite to say so.

There’s nothing new here, I suppose. We’ve known all this for a long time. Still, it’s useful to hear it on the record from a high-ranking cabinet member who saw Trump in action.

BY THE WAY: Tillerson, who has worked with Vladimir Putin both at ExxonMobil and as Secretary of State, says Putin is a lot smarter than Trump. “Many people talk about playing chess. He plays three-dimensional chess,” Tillerson said.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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