Trump Calls Tillerson ‘Dumb as a Rock’ and ‘Lazy as Hell’

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump called Rex Tillerson “dumb as a rock” and “lazy as hell” after his former secretary of state broke his public silence and said he often had to push back against ideas that would have violated the law.

Trump tweeted Friday that Tillerson “didn’t have the mental capacity needed. He was dumb as a rock and I couldn’t get rid of him fast enough,. He was lazy as hell.”

With the new tweet, Trump escalated a feud that appeared to have started in October 2017, when NBC News reported that Tillerson had called Trump a “moron.” Trump fired Tillerson -- also in a tweet -- in March of this year.

Tillerson’s Appraisal

On Friday, the combative president apparently was responding to Tillerson’s description of Trump in a new interview as a man who “doesn’t like to read, doesn’t read briefing reports, doesn’t like to get into the details of a lot of things but rather just kinda says, ‘Look, this is what I believe.”’

Tillerson also said in the interview Thursday with Bob Schieffer of CBS News that Trump grew frustrated with his repeated insistence that actions the president wanted to take would violate the law. He contrasted Trump’s impulsive style with his own more orderly approach in his 40-year career with Exxon Mobil Corp., which he led for 10 years.

“When the president would say, ‘Here’s what I want to do, and here’s how I want to do it,’ I’d have to say to him, ‘Well Mr. President, I understand what you want to do but you can’t do it that way, it violates the law, it violates treaty,’” Tillerson said. “You know, he got really frustrated.”

“I think he grew tired of me being the guy every day that told him he can’t do that and let’s talk about what we can do,” Tillerson said.

It was the first time Tillerson opened up about the discord that led to his dismissal in a tweet by Trump shortly after the chief diplomat returned from a trip to Africa.

When Tillerson was secretary of state, Trump repeatedly tweeted denials that he’d threatened to resign. At the time, Trump labeled the reports “FAKE NEWS,” said the two “work well together” and called Tillerson “wonderful.”

‘Moron’ Report

While he was secretary, Tillerson never directly denied the NBC report that he’d called Trump a moron, saying he wouldn’t dignify it with a response. He left it to his spokeswoman, Heather Nauert -- who Trump is now nominating to serve as United Nations ambassador -- to deny it for him.

He didn’t address that report in the new interview either. But his comments left few doubts about his views.

“We did not have a common values system,” Tillerson said, calling Trump “pretty undisciplined.”

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