Trump Attacks “Dumb as a Rock” Rex Tillerson, Whom He Once Praised for His “Vast Experience”

The president once touted his former Secretary of State as the “most prepared” person for job.

Kevin Dietsch/ZUMA

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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.

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.

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. 

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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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