Tags: Donald Trump | Trump Administration | david ignatius | rex tillerson | apologize | donald trump

Ignatius: Tillerson Will Likely Need to Apologize to Trump

(MSNBC's "Morning Joe")

By    |   Wednesday, 04 October 2017 08:20 AM

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is "kind of a lone guy" who will need to apologize to President Donald Trump to keep moving forward in the administration, Washington Post associate editor David Ignatius said Wednesday.

"Tillerson is an unusual figure in Washington," Ignatius told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, in response to an NBC exclusive released Wednesday claiming the former Exxon/Mobil CEO had nearly resigned in July.

"He really is a diffident guy," Ignatius continued. "His standoffishness in the press is reflected and his standoffishness toward Congress; he doesn't try to pal around with the White House or talk to the people that recommended him for the job who were thought to be his mentors."

According to NBC, citing several senior administration officials aware of the situation at the time, Tillerson was on the verge of resigning as policy disputes heated up and following clashes with the White House.

The tensions between Trump and Tillerson were at a head when Trump delivered a politicized speech in West Virginia to a Boy Scouts of America jamboree. Tillerson had once led the organization.

Days before the jamboree, the report said, Tillerson openly called Trump a "moron" after a July 20 meeting at the Pentagon with Cabinet officials and members of Trump's national security team, three officials familiar with the incident told NBC.

Later in the summer, Trump felt insulted when Tillerson said that the president "only speaks for himself," following the president's comments in the wake of protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"Tillerson got it badly wrong this last week in Beijing," said Ignatius, when he had said that the United States wanted to use diplomacy and was not "'seeking nuclear war.'"

"He didn't clear those words with the White House," said Ignatius. "The White House was really furious. The spokesman thought, this is not a message from the president direct. This is a message to Pyongyang."

As a result of the many incidents, Tillerson will either need to apologize directly to Trump, or Defense Secretary James Mattis will need to intercede, said Ignatius.

Ignatius continued that he believes the Trump administration has this "deep suspicion" of the "permanent government, the 'deep state,' as people on the right sometimes say."

"The funny thing is that Tillerson had that, too," said Ignatius. "You couldn't ask for a secretary of state who kept the bureaucracy at more distance than Rex Tillerson has done. But I do think that that suspicion is present."

CIA Director Mike Pompeo, meanwhile, has gotten the trust of most of his own workforce, in ways Tillerson has not, said Ignatius.

"He is often rumored to be the guy the president would bring into the White House if he could add another person," Ignatius explained. "That's an interesting comparison. Pompeo has the president's trust, seems to get along with the workforce. Tillerson not so much."

Carol Lee, one of the article's writers, told the program that Trump's speech to the Boy Scouts had capped a summer of frustration for Tillerson.

"There were a number of things leading up to July," said Lee. "There was this spat between the president and Tillerson over Qatar, where the president said they should resolve this and the president came out and backed Saudi Arabia. You had the Iran nuclear deal and Tillerson was arguing with the president to recertify. Then, they had a series of meetings where after one of them in late July, Tillerson was overheard afterwards talking with Cabinet members and White House officials and referred to the president as a moron. He was clearly frustrated."

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is "kind of a lone guy" who will need to apologize to President Donald Trump to keep moving forward in the administration, Washington Post associate editor David Ignatius said Wednesday.
david ignatius, rex tillerson, apologize, donald trump
Wednesday, 04 October 2017 08:20 AM
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