Cillizza: Rex Tillerson kind of, sort of just admitted he called Trump a 'moron'

chris-cillizza Oct 04, 2017

Normally, I ignore Chris Cillizza. He’s obviously the worst analyst at CNN which is quite a feat. This is the same network at employs Don Lemon, after all.

But, today his article is just a bundle of laughs. Cillizza starts with:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday tried to knock down a report that he had called President Donald Trump a “moron” and considered leaving his post over disagreements with the commander in chief over the summer. But, in the process he may have made things worse for himself.

Mr. Cillizza starts by sowing more dissension.

“I want to dispel with this notion that I have ever considered leaving,” Tillerson said in an appearance at the State Department added to his calendar following the bombshell report via NBC News that the secretary of state had called Trump a derogatory name over the summer, had considered resigning and was counseled to remain in the job by Vice President Mike Pence.

Remember this line: “I want to dispel this notion that I have ever considered leaving.”

While Tillerson’s denial that he ever spoke with Pence about leaving his post is important, it’s what Tillerson didn’t deny that may be even more telling.

In the first line Mr. Cillizza forgot what he quotes just the previous paragraph. He said that he never considered leaving. Remember?

Perhaps surprisingly, I agree with Mr. Cillizza that the non-denial is telling. But, Mr. Cillizza can’t stop when he’s ahead.

Tillerson’s non-denial comes even as the CNN White House team is reporting that “discord between President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is at an all-time high.” And, you can be sure that Tillerson’s refusal to publicly acknowledge that he didn’t call Trump a moron will only make things worse.

But, why would anyone believe CNN’s White House Team? It may be true and may not be true. Right now there’s very little evidence one way or another.

Mr. Cillizza goes on to repeat this:

This July reporting from CNN’s John King shed light on how bad things had become:

“For weeks, conversations with Tillerson friends outside of Washington have left the impression that he, despite his frustrations, was determined to stay on the job at least through the end of the year. That would allow time to continue efforts to reorganize the State Department and would mean he could claim to have put in a year as America’s top diplomat.

But two sources who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity over the weekend said they would not be surprised if there was a “Rexit” from Foggy Bottom sooner that that.”

Remember earlier? Secretary Tillerson said: “I want to dispel with this notion that I have ever considered leaving.” But, I guess a 3 month old report by two anonymous sources has more veracity to Mr. Cillizza. Of course, if two anonymous sources are more reputable why even write about Secretary Tillerson in the first place?

Getting back to the sowing dissension comment, I’ll leave it with Secretary Tillerson’s most interesting statement (via WaPo):

While I’m new to Washington, I have learned that there are some who try to sow dissension to advance their own agenda by tearing others apart in an effort to undermine President Trump’s own agenda. I do not and I will not operate that way, and the same applies to everyone on my team here at the State Department.