Tillerson Called Trump a ‘Moron’ And Threatened To Quit In Pentagon ISIS Meeting: Report
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was so furious with Donald Trump that senior officials had to intervene to talk him out of quitting after he clashed with Trump — whom he dismissed as a “moron.”
According to ABC News, Tillerson was infuriated after the president delivered a raunchy and highly politicized speech in late July to the Boy Scouts of America, an organization the secretary of state once led.
The secretary of state had openly criticized Trump as a “moron” just days before, after a July 20 meeting at the Pentagon to discuss the Islamic State with the president’s national security team and Cabinet officials, according to three officials with knowledge of the incident.
“We’re doing very well against ISIS,” the president said before entering that meeting. “ISIS is falling fast, very fast.”
Afterward, Trump described the meeting as “absolutely great.”
Tillerson was in Texas for his son’s wedding when Trump addressed the Boy Scouts, and he threatened not to return to Washington.
Citing multiple senior administration officials who were aware of the situation at the time, ABC News reports that Vice President Mike Pence gave Tillerson a “pep talk” afterward, and other top administration officials begged Tillerson to stay on the job until at least the end of the year, the sources said.
“They did beg him to stay,” said one senior administration official. “They just wanted stability.”
The sources identified those officials as retired Gen. John Kelly, who became chief of staff not long afterward, and Defense Secretary James Mattis.
Pence has since asked Tillerson to be more respectful of Trump in meetings and in public, although those tensions again spilled out into the open this week when Trump tweeted out criticism of the secretary’s handling of North Korea diplomacy.
The White House declined a Political Dig request for comment on this story.