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

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

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. 

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.