All throughout 2017, media pundits speculated about the imminent departure of President Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Tillerson came from the private sector, and allegedly had a difficult transition into public work. He was often at odds with the career diplomats in the State Department, and found no consolation in his relationship with Trump, who he infamously called a moron.
Their most recent tension exploded over America’s response to North Korea. In that situation, President Trump publicly undermined the official American position that Tillerson was trying to maintain, embarrassing his top diplomat in the process. The Secretary was advocating a peaceful approach to North Korea, emphasizing the economic sanctions that the United Nations agreed on, just as Trump threatened bombastic dictator Kim Jong Un with “fire and fury.”
Tillerson, as such, has remained quiet on the matter, even as Trump repeatedly taunts Kim Jong Un on Twitter over the size of America’s nuclear arsenal.
However, Tillerson is trying to downplay any discord between the two in the New Year. He has indicated that he will remain in the top cabinet post, despite reports that he is disgruntled and itching for a return to private life.
“I think we’re going to have a very productive 2018,” he said. “And I look forward to having a very, very successful 2018.”
He went further, and denounced reports that he called Trump a moron or otherwise casted doubt on his mental fitness. “I’ve never questioned his mental fitness,” he said. “I have no reason to question his mental fitness.”
A new book by reporter Michael Wolff, appropriately called “Fire and Fury,” repeated the finding that Tillerson did, indeed, question Trump’s mental fitness. “It became almost a kind of competition to demystify Trump,” Wolff wrote. “For Rex Tillerson, he was a moron. For Gary Cohn, he was dumb as shit. For H.R. McMaster, he was a hopeless idiot. For Steve Bannon, he had lost his mind.”