Rex Tillerson Breaks His Silence: Trump Is Impulsive, Hates Reading, and Floated Illegal Plans

The former secretary of state tells the country how he really feels about his old boss.

Ting Shen/Zumapress

On Thursday evening, Rex Tillerson, the former secretary of state and Exxon Mobil CEO, sat down for an interview with CBS’s Bob Schieffer in Houston. It was Tillerson’s first public appearance since being fired by Donald Trump in March after months of tension, and when it came to discussing his points of disagreement with the president, Tillerson did not mince words. 

“So often, the president would say, ‘Here’s what I want to do, and here’s how I want to do it,'” Tillerson recalled, according to the Houston Chronicle, “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.'”

“I think he grew tired of me being the guy every day who told him he can’t do that,” Tillerson said.

Asked if he believed that Russia interfered in the 2016 election—a charge that Trump continues to cast doubt on—Tillerson said, “There’s no question” that it did, citing the evidence presented by US intelligence agencies. Tillerson also discussed the president’s tendency to act on impulse rather than reading things like briefing reports before making decisions. You can watch that exchange in the clip below. 

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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