Yes, we have now reached the stage where this is now a question for serious public discussion. It follows a report that this past summer, secretary of state Rex Tillerson had referred to Donald Trump as a moron and had said that he wanted to resign his position. In a press conference that he called today, Tillerson denied that he had even thought of resigning or had to be talked out of it but did not deny that ‘moron’ quote.
Trump would not be the first president whose intellect would be questioned in such a serious way. George W. Bush was thought to be a lightweight too. But I do not recall a cabinet secretary being accused of saying this and having to deny it.
Needless to say, I think most people who are not Trump supporters think that Tillerson did say it.
Here’s the thing: If Tillerson refused to directly deny calling Trump a “moron,” you can be almost certain he did in fact call the president exactly that. Think about it: If there is a report that you said your boss was “a big dummy” and you hadn’t actually said that, wouldn’t you take any chance you could to correct the record? Your job might depend on it!
Tillerson’s non-denial comes even as the CNN White House team is reporting that “discord between President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is at an all-time high.” And, you can be sure that Tillerson’s refusal to publicly acknowledge that he didn’t call Trump a moron will only make things worse.
I said at the beginning of Trump’s presidency that it would be interesting to see how people who are used to giving orders to subordinates, like Tillerson, would deal with having to answer to someone like Trump whom they think is clearly inferior to them. It is clear that Tillerson is conflicted. For the moment he has groveled to keep his position despite being repeatedly undercut by Trump. But how long before the teasing of his friends at his country club and at posh parties because he works for an idiot becomes too much and he really cannot take it anymore?
Trump is also in a tight spot. If Tillerson resigns, it will be yet another sign of a chaotic administration. That is the only reason I can think of for him to not fire someone who called him a moron. But other rumors say that he is safe because he is part of a ‘suicide pact’.
One US official expressed confidence in Tillerson’s status due to a so-called “suicide pact” forged between Defense Secretary James Mattis, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Tillerson whereby all three cabinet secretaries vow to leave in the event that the president makes moves against one of them.
Other Trump insiders point to the potentially hefty tax bill Tillerson would have to pay if he resigns before serving a year in government.
So Trump can’t fire him and Tillerson wants to save money by staying on. What a crew we have running this country.