President Donald Trump on Thursday lashed out at Rex Tillerson after the former secretary of State told lawmakers that Russian President Vladimir Putin was better prepared than Trump for a meeting in 2017.
“Rex Tillerson, a man who is ‘dumb as a rock’ and totally ill prepared and ill equipped to be Secretary of State, made up a story (he got fired) that I was out-prepared by Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Hamburg, Germany,” Trump tweeted.
“I don’t think Putin would agree. Look how the U.S. is doing!” he added.
Trump nominated Tillerson as secretary of State at the outset of his administration, and fired him in March 2018 amid numerous clashes over U.S. foreign policy.
Trump’s raging tweet comes after The Washington Post reported that Tillerson told the panel that Putin out-prepared Trump during the meeting in Hamburg, and that he believed there was more the U.S. needed to do to confront Russia.
According to The Post, Tillerson spent hours meeting with the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday, where he provided insight about the president’s foreign policy strategy.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders appeared on CNN’s “New Day” a short time after Trump tweeted about Tillerson, and defended the president’s preparation for the meeting with Putin in Germany and its outcome.
However, she did not directly answer when asked why Trump nominated someone he has since derided as “dumb as a rock” and “ill equipped” for the job.
Thursday’s tweet marked the latest barb in the acrimonious relationship between Trump and his former top diplomat.
In December, Tillerson criticized the president during a fundraising event in Houston, saying Trump was undisciplined and would suggest taking actions that would break the law. The two men “did not have a common value system,” he said.
Trump fired back a short time later, calling Tillerson “dumb as a rock” and “lazy as hell.”
Trump has repeatedly defended his posture toward Russia, simultaneously arguing that no administration has been tougher on the Kremlin and that it would be beneficial to get along with Moscow.
You can read Trump’s latest attack below.
Rex Tillerson, a man who is “dumb as a rock” and totally ill prepared and ill equipped to be Secretary of State, made up a story (he got fired) that I was out-prepared by Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Hamburg, Germany. I don’t think Putin would agree. Look how the U.S. is doing!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2019
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