President Donald Trump leveled insults at Rex Tillerson on Thursday, calling him “ill equipped” and “dumb as a rock” after his former secretary of state claimed the president was not prepared during a 2017 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Rex Tillerson, a man who is ‘dumb as a rock’ and totally ill prepared and ill equipped to be Secretary of State, made up a story (he got fired) that I was out-prepared by Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Hamburg, Germany,” Trump tweeted.
“I don’t think Putin would agree. Look how the U.S. is doing!” he added.
Rex Tillerson, a man who is “dumb as a rock” and totally ill prepared and ill equipped to be Secretary of State, made up a story (he got fired) that I was out-prepared by Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Hamburg, Germany. I don’t think Putin would agree. Look how the U.S. is doing!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2019
The president’s comments came after Tillerson told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday that Putin was better prepared than Trump ahead of the two leaders’ 2017 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, according to The Washington Post.
“The U.S. side anticipated a shorter meeting for exchanging courtesies, but it ballooned into a globe-spanning two-hour-plus session involving deliberations on a variety of geopolitical issues,” The Post reported, citing anonymous committee aides.
“We spent a lot of time in the conversation talking about how Putin seized every opportunity to push what he wanted,” one committee aide told The Post.
“There was a discrepancy in preparation, and it created an unequal footing.”
Trump fired back following Tillerson’s reported remarks, saying in a statement to The Post that he was “perfectly prepared” for the summit.
“We did very well at those meetings,” the president said.
It’s not the first time Trump and Tillerson, who served as CEO of Exxon Mobil before becoming secretary of state, have squabbled.
In December 2018, Trump used the phrase “dumb as a rock” to describe Tillerson after the former secretary of state did an interview with CBS News.
During the interview, Tillerson admitted the two men “did not have a common value system” and didn’t share similar “styles.”
“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, ‘Mr. President, I understand what you want to do, but you can’t do it that way. It violates the law. It violates a treaty.’ You know, he got really frustrated,” Tillerson said.
“I think he grew tired of me being the guy every day that told him, ‘You can’t do that, and let’s talk about what we can do,'” he said.
In response, Trump claimed on Twitter that Tillerson “didn’t have the mental capacity needed” for his role and was “lazy as hell.”
“He was dumb as a rock and I couldn’t get rid of him fast enough,” Trump tweeted.
Mike Pompeo is doing a great job, I am very proud of him. His predecessor, Rex 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. Now it is a whole new ballgame, great spirit at State!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 7, 2018
Tillerson, now 67, was fired in March 2018.
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