Trump Fires the Man Who Dared Speak Truth to Power (UPDATED)
Just hours after his “tweeter firing,” a somber Secretary of State addressed State Department personnel to “tell his side of the story.”
In the only reference to the man who had just fired him, Tillerson said he had received a call from Trump shortly after noon from Air Force One.
Sounding emotional and exhausted after just returning from a five-country trip to Africa, Tillerson addressed the importance of ensuring a “smooth and orderly transition” to Mike Pompeo, said he was delegating all his responsibilities to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan effective at midnight Tuesday and pointed to progress and accomplishments during his short tenure.
He repeatedly thanked and praised his career and diplomatic staff stationed around the world for their devotion to country and duty, their respect for the Constitution and the “honesty” of Americans — again without mentioning the president.
Addressing not only his staff but also the Department of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Tillerson pointedly mentioned how they “all took the same oath of office” to “support and defend the Constitution” and “bear true faith and allegiance to the same”. “We are bound together by that oath, here in Washington and at posts across the world,” he said.
Finally, without taking any questions, Tillerson left the room after saying, “I’ll now return to private life, as a private citizen, as a proud American, proud of the opportunity I’ve had to have serve my country.”
During a CNN debate shortly after Tillerson’s address, Thomas Countryman — a senior State Department official who was also pushed out by Trump – had these memorable words:
I respect [Rex Tillerson] as a good, decent, civil man…. most importantly as somebody who was a restraining influence on the worst instincts of a president who is…unchained, unhinged….”
Trump, in a very “presidential” tweet, has announced that he is firing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and that he intends to replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
Trump is firing the man who had the guts to call a spade a spade and join our staunchest ally, Great Britain, in singling out Russia as responsible for the poisoning of an ex-spy, while Trump remained silent.
He is firing the man who repeatedly attempted to use diplomacy to quell North Korea’s nuclear weapons development and who was not even consulted on Trump’s decision to meet with North Korea’s dictator.
He is firing the man whose efforts to revive the peace efforts in the Middle East he repeatedly undermined by using an unexperienced, security-clearance-lacking son-in-law to tackle such sensitive and critical tasks.
He is firing the man who called for reason and diplomacy in the Saudi Arabia-Qatar dispute.
He is firing the man who declined to support Trump’s so-called “America’s values” as they related to the Charlottesville tragedy.
He is firing the man who was deeply offended by Trump’s cringe-worthy speech to the Boy Scouts of America in July.
Notably, he is firing the man who “did not dispute whether he called Trump ‘a moron…’”
Finally, President Trump is changing horses in the middle of the stream “ amid delicate negotiations with North Korea…”
CODA: CNN is reporting that, characteristically of Tweeterman, Trump may have notified Tillerson of his firing via a not-so-presidential tweet.