Tillerson on Trump: “We did not have a common value system”

Rex Tillerson listens manfully as Trump rants to his cabinet about God knows what.Chris Kleponis/CNP via ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson talked to Bob Schieffer last night about his year working for Donald Trump. Unsurprisingly, he described Trump as:

pretty undisciplined, doesn’t like to read, doesn’t read briefing reports, doesn’t like to get into the details of a lot of things, but rather just says this is what I believe, and you can try to convince me otherwise, but most of the time you’re not going to do that.

And then there was this:

We are starkly different in our styles, we did not have a common value system. When the president would say, here’s what I want to do and here’s how I want to do it, and I would have to say to him, Mr. President I understand what you want to do but you can’t do it that way—it violates the law, it violates a treaty—he got really frustrated….I think he grew tired of me being the guy every day who told him he can’t do that, and let’s talk about what we can do.

Hmmm. “We did not have a common value system.” I assume that Tillerson thinks of himself as an honest person, which means he thinks of Trump as a liar and a crook. He’s just too polite to say so.

There’s nothing new here, I suppose. We’ve known all this for a long time. Still, it’s useful to hear it on the record from a high-ranking cabinet member who saw Trump in action.

BY THE WAY: Tillerson, who has worked with Vladimir Putin both at ExxonMobil and as Secretary of State, says Putin is a lot smarter than Trump. “Many people talk about playing chess. He plays three-dimensional chess,” Tillerson said.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.