Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson exposed some parts of his version of what went wrong in his relationship with President Donald Trump, saying that he and the president do not have "a common value system" and describe the scenarios in which he had to reduce Trump's impulses because he "violates the law".
Tillerson, who was fired in March, made his first public appearance in a Houston fundraiser on Thursday. He sat down for a talk with Bob Crewser, a CBS News veteran, and discussed his time at the State Department with Trump.
Tillerson said he had never met Trump "until the day he asked me to be secretary of state" and described his impressions of the president.
"He acts on his instincts," said Tillerson. "In some respects, it seems impulsive, but it's not his intention to act on impulse, I think he's really trying to act on his instincts."
Before becoming Secretary of State, Tillerson was the long-time CEO date of the ExxonMobil oil and gas giant. He told Schieffer that coming to the Trump administration from the "disciplined, highly process-oriented" Exxon was "challenging" ̵
He said that Trump says, "Look, this is what I believe, and you can try to convince me otherwise, but most of the time you will not."
Schieffer then asked Tillerson what he thought his relationship with Trump was interrupted. Tillerson was straightforward in his answer:
Part of it was obviously very different in our styles. We did not have a common system of values. When the president would say, "Here's what I want to do, and here's how I want to do it." And I should tell him "Mr. President, I understand what you want to do, but you can not do it this way, violate the law, violate the treaty."
He felt really frustrated. I did not know how to conduct my business with him in another way if not in a very direct way, and I think he got tired of being the boy every day telling him: "You can not do it and we talk
Schieffer replied:" It's very, very interesting "and the audience laughed (19659011) Tillerson did not indicate in which aspects he believed that Trump was trying to violate the law.
Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says @CBSNews & # 39; @bobschieffer that he and President Trump "They did not have a common value system … I should have told him," Mr. President, I understand what you want to do, but you can not do it that way. You know, you are really frustrated. " pic.twitter.com/oI8ocQUJni
– Norah O & # 39; Donnell (@NorahODonnell) 7 December 2018
Rex Tillerson was perhaps an adult in room. But he also did a lot of damage to the State Department.
Tillerson, during his tenure, should have been one of the "adults in the room" who guided and tempered the volatile Trump, just like Defense Secretary Jim Mattis or now – National Security Adviser HR McMaster and Director of the Council national economic Gary Cohn.
Before Trump fired him, the two would often have to confront each other – Tillerson argued that the president would remain in the Paris climate and pushed him to certify Iranian compliance with the law. Iranian nuclear deal. And Trump was not shy about making their disagreements public, sometimes.
I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, who is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man …
– Donald J Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 1, 2017  … Save Rex energy, we will do what needs to be done!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 1, 2017
But it is not as if Tillerson were a resounding success as Secretary of State. Perhaps he tempered Trump on some things, but as Zack Beauchamp of Vox explained at the beginning of this year, he left his post without great results, and he did much damage to the Department of state in the process:
Under the surveillance of Tillerson, 60% of senior career diplomats resigned and new applications for foreign service membership were halved, according to a November count of the American Foreign Service Association.
This depletion of the foreign service, combined with Tillerson's inability to appoint people in vital positions as the ambassador to South Korea, delayed American responses to major crises and weakened the State Department for a " generation, "according to Elizabeth Saunders of George Washington University.
It is unclear whether Tillerson's Thursday appearance is a one-shot shootout or a step back in public life, where we will hear more about his stay in Trump's administration. His remarks were relatively moderate, but it is clear that there is not a ton of lost love between Tillerson and Trump – he was, after all, fired via tweets.
Mike Pompeo, director of the CIA, will become our new secretary of state. It will do a great job! Thanks to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018