Trump calls Rex Tillerson 'dumb as a rock'

President Trump lashes out at his former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling him "dumb as a rock" in a tweet following an interview Tillerson did with CBS where he called Trump "undisciplined."

Posted: Dec 10, 2018 6:30 PM
Updated: Dec 10, 2018 6:37 PM

Faced with new court filings by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating his ties to Russia and other matters, our Distractor-in-Chief began Friday with a burst a tweets and two big nominations. As President Donald Trump proposed William Barr for attorney general and Heather Nauert for ambassador to the United Nations, he seemed intent on capturing our attention. It didn't work.

The man who loves to control the news cycle was outflanked by revelations connected to two men who have, despite serving in the Trump administration, appeared to resist his corrupting influence.

First, former secretary of state Rex Tillerson told an interviewer that Trump had asked him to commit illegal acts, is undisciplined and "doesn't like to read, doesn't read briefing reports, doesn't like to get into the details of a lot of things." Next the press reported that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who is expected to quit any minute, has been questioned by the special counsel. These startling developments drew new attention to the odor of incompetence and corruption that has hung over Trump ever since he took office.

Tillerson and Kelly, and Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen represent diametrically opposed responses to the Mafia-style way of leading that the President seems to prefer.

Tillerson and Kelly signed on with Trump after sterling careers guided by higher values and did not succumb to demands for omerta-style loyalty. Cohen and Manafort, both now admitted criminals, had never distinguished themselves as honorable men and presumably found it easy to do the big boss's bidding.

Nothing in this comparison suggests that Kelly and Tillerson were goody-goody types. A former Marine Corps general, Kelly came to the White House with combat experience and the toughness to bring discipline to a President who is short on focus and self-control. Before being tapped by Trump, Tillerson was canny enough to rise to the top of ExxonMobil, where he even did business with the murderous Vladimir Putin because his company was active in Russia. (Putin gave Tillerson a friendship medal.) Now we learn that when he was at the State Department, Tillerson pushed back against Trump's attempt to corrupt him, refusing to act on orders he believed violated the law, according to his account to CBS reporter Bob Schieffer at a Houston event Thursday.

As pragmatic as Tillerson and Kelly may have been, they did not subscribe to Trump's do-anything-I-command ethos -- and that put them on the outs with their boss. Tillerson struggled to serve the country properly right up to the point when he was informed, while traveling for the President on a foreign mission, that he was no longer welcomed in the administration. As Kelly reportedly prepares to leave, he enjoys the same respect as a man committed to the office of the President even if the actual President has, according to reports, stopped speaking to him.

The fact is that in Trump circles, the relatively decent ones -- like the chief of staff, former secretary of state and outgoing United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley -- appear to have to struggle to remain. Indeed, ever the good soldier, Haley has refused to say anything negative about Trump, but it's noteworthy that she resigned soon after the delegates at the United Nations laughed out loud while her boss was addressing the General Assembly.

Trump's less noble allies, like Cohen and Manafort, show little of the strength of character found in Kelly, Tillerson and Haley. Instead of resisting the corruption that is so common to Trump's endeavors they tried to play the game.

In the decade-plus when he was Donald Trump's lawyer, Cohen advertised himself as Trump's "fixer" and a man who would "take a bullet" for the boss. This is the attitude of someone who is comfortable with mob-style corruption, and it is a sign of Cohen's weakness that he played his role so well that he committed crimes he has confessed to federal authorities. To his credit, Cohen is now cooperating with authorities and doesn't seem to be angling for a Presidential pardon.

Manafort's corruption is like Cohen's, but apparently of a higher order of magnitude. For years he proudly served in what some regarded as the "torturer's lobby" in Washington, representing authoritarian regimes from around the world. Manafort's reputation was so shady that he had ceased to be employable as a consultant in American elections until Trump came along. When he had served his purposes, Trump shoved him aside in favor of another campaign chief. Now he stands convicted of so many federal crimes he could spend the rest of his life in prison. He seems far more committed to the Trump mobster style, and surely hopes that by doing what he can to help the President, he might get a pardon. Trump has said the idea is "not off the table."

The President has the power to pardon anyone, but he cannot undo the damage he has already inflicted. Some like Tillerson, Kelly and Haley will recover and be regarded as people who more-or-less tried to help their country and were wounded in the process. Manafort's ignominy is assured. Cohen may have salvaged at least a part of his own reputation by helping Mueller. And everyone else who works for this President should be guarding theirs.

Huntsville
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 69°
Florence
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 71°
Fayetteville
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 66°
Decatur
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 66°
Scottsboro
Scattered Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 64°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 22566

Reported Deaths: 364
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Davidson504062
Shelby4943111
Trousdale13924
Rutherford119623
Sumner88145
Hamilton79415
Bledsoe6071
Williamson55210
Putnam4795
Robertson4653
Tipton4423
Out of TN4184
Lake4140
Wilson4078
Knox3755
Bedford2834
Montgomery2693
Rhea2100
Hardeman1960
Madison1752
Loudon1430
McMinn14114
Macon1363
Cheatham1230
Bradley1221
Fayette1152
Cumberland1121
Dickson1090
Unassigned920
Blount913
Maury890
Sevier812
Washington750
Coffee730
Wayne640
Gibson631
Monroe622
Sullivan602
Hickman580
Lauderdale561
Franklin531
Greene502
Dyer500
Marion401
Anderson401
DeKalb370
Hamblen362
Smith341
White330
Hawkins332
Lawrence310
Grundy311
Haywood312
Marshall311
Obion301
Henry300
Jefferson280
Carroll271
Overton260
Meigs260
Weakley260
Lincoln250
Warren230
Cannon210
Perry210
Cocke200
Carter191
Campbell181
Morgan170
Jackson170
Crockett162
Roane160
Polk160
Johnson160
Henderson150
Hardin152
Sequatchie150
Humphreys131
Fentress120
McNairy120
Chester120
Giles120
Scott120
Stewart110
Claiborne90
Houston80
Grainger80
Clay70
Benton71
Decatur50
Unicoi40
Union40
Van Buren40
Lewis30
Pickett30
Moore30
Hancock10

 

 

Community Events