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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Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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