The Hollowing-Out of Rex Tillerson (#61)
Rex Tillerson was not a very strong Secretary of State from the day of his appointment. From the very first, he did not exert his authority as a man of substance, though he was, as the long term Chief Executive of one of the World’s largest corporations, Texas-based Exxon Corp. From the day of his appointment as Secretary of State, America’s top Diplomat, Rex Tillerson acted as a low ranking employee in the Trump administration, pushed around, regularly contradicted and therefore publicly insulted by his boss Donald Trump, who did not show enough spine to quit as a person with any heft and dignity would have done long ago, but hung around as a neutered pup regularly whipped by his master. His docility in the face of a belligerent and clearly unfit President resulted in the inevitable, the summary dumping at the whim of a ‘fu*king moron’ (as Tillerson reportedly called Trump in private, at the start).
At the bidding of a megalomaniac as President who did not consider the State Department even as necessary, and ordered its gutting, Tillerson, instead of fighting back to retain the power and effectiveness of his domain, instead complied, and in doing so gutted himself as a beleaguered Secretary of State who presided over a diminished and demoralized State Department. Additionally, Tillerson’s word meant nothing to American allies, or enemies, as they were overruled at times the minute they escaped his mouth. A Secretary of State, the highest ranking Diplomat, whose word is immaterial and who is viewed as inconsequential by the World, is superfluous in the administration, as his subsequent firing proved.
It is being said that Tillerson was fired because his views on the handling of sensitive international situations such as Iran and North Korea were moderate and in contrast to Trump’s far more ad hoc and belligerent views. That is partly true. But it is not the entire reason, because Retd. General Jim ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, the current United States Secretary of Defense, was very much on the same page as Tillerson on his views on Iran and North Korea, but from the very start Jim Mattis was discreet but firm with Trump, and did not try to please him shamefacedly as so many others in the administration did, openly. Rex Tillerson should have observed (a skill to read a person that is honed over the years as head of a major corporation) that Trump respects strong people, even those that push back, but does not forgive those that make the fatal mistake of insulting him in public, as with the ‘fu*king moron’ comment that Tillerson never denied he said. In essence Tillerson’s days were numbered from that fateful day; his subsequent subservient actions sealed his fate.
After a long and distinguished career in the private sector, as head of Exxon, Rex Tillerson fell for the seduction of power in the White House and let his better judgment be clouded for the enticement of greater glory under a deeply flawed leader. That unfortunate step has marred his past accomplishments and his going forward reputation by tainting him, from now, as he will be known as the most ineffective Secretary of State in recent American history; a formerly accomplished man that was systematically hollowed out by Donald J. Trump.