REPORT: Furious Tillerson Slammed ‘Moron’ Trump, Was Begged Not to Resign
Mattis, Kelly, and Pence Convinced the Secretary of State to Remain in the Cabinet
A scathing report from NBC News Wednesday morning details exactly how close Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was to stepping down from his cabinet post this summer. More damaging than the possibility of losing yet another high-profile member of the administration, however, is the blunt and insulting language Tillerson is alleged to have used about President Donald Trump — in front of other high ranking officials. At least three people with knowledge of the meeting confirm that Tillerson called Trump a “Moron”.
The source of Tillerson’s disdain for the Commander-In-Chief stemmed from Trump’s highly politicized and sharply criticized speech to the Boy Scouts of America on July 24. The speech, where Trump criticized President Obama, bragged about his “incredible” election victory and threatened senators over their failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act actually drew a rebuke and an apology from the Boy Scouts organization. Tillerson — who served as President of the Boy Scouts earlier this decade — was likewise outraged at Trump’s remarks.
Just days earlier, Tillerson had openly disparaged the president, referring to him as a “moron,” after a July 20 meeting at the Pentagon with members of Trump’s national security team and Cabinet officials.
They had to ‘Beg him to Stay’
According to the NBC News report, the biggest players in the Trump administration were instrumental in preventing another major departure from a White House that had — at that point— already lost its National Security Adviser, Deputy Chief of Staff, Deputy Attorney General, Communications Director, Office of Government Ethics Director, and most notably, FBI Director.
Tillerson, who was in Texas for his son’s wedding in late July when Trump addressed the Boy Scouts, had threatened not to return to Washington, according to three people with direct knowledge of the threats. His discussions with retired Gen. John Kelly, who would soon be named Trump’s second chief of staff, and Defense Secretary James Mattis, helped initially to reassure him, four people with direct knowledge of the exchanges said.
Then the Vice President of the United States was called on to assuage Tillerson.
After Tillerson’s return to Washington, Pence arranged a meeting with him, according to three officials. During the meeting, Pence gave Tillerson a “pep talk,” one of these officials said, but also had a message: the secretary needed to figure out how to move forward within Trump’s policy framework.
Kelly and Mattis have been Tillerson’s strongest allies in the cabinet. In late July, “they did beg him to stay,” a senior administration official said. “They just wanted stability.”
In the coming weeks and months, the administration would go on to lose their second Communications Director, Press Secretary, Chief of Staff, Chief Strategist and Health and Human Services Secretary. All of which is embarrassing enough. Losing the fourth-in-line to the Presidency would have been even worse. It’s fair to say that the administration feels it’s better to have direct reports who consider the President to be a “moron” than to have to save face yet again.
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