Secretary of State Rex Tillerson—Sexy Rexy, to use the term he is known by inside the Paste Office, by which I mean me and me alone—will be gone in two weeks. I know it. All our editors know it. Now you know it. Soon the American people will know it.
According to The Week, the Secretary will be kicking around the empire for some time to come. He denied he would even consider leaving this post:
On Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson brushed off reports that he was close to stepping down over the summer, frustrated over President Trump’s fast and furious Twitter fingers and insufficient staffing, and one U.S. official believes he knows why Tillerson didn’t resign, despite his annoyance.
Tillerson has reportedly been frustrated, and allegedly called his Commander-in-Chief a “moron” at a Pentagon meeting on July 20. He has also been thwarted (they say) on policy matters involving Iran and our friends in Qatar. His aides are unhappy: will their guy go?
All signs points to an ecstatic Yes.
Two weeks. At most.
Consider the problems of Donald Trump, the world’s most insecure man. A tarp of shame is unrolling in the soul of this orange President. My own guy—called me stupid—everybody’s laughing at me!
Friends, I wish, dearly, that I could paint you a picture of Trump that showed him as man of depth, of thought … but you and I both know that’s not him. There are no conflicting currents of loyalty and fear, nothing in him a psychological novelist could use. He really is that planarian. He follows certain mathematical dictates, and this makes him as predictable as a comet.
In a strange way, Trump proves Lord Acton wrong. Acton said power corrupts. To avoid being poisoned by office, you would have to be a total sinner or an utter saint. The same qualities which we usually term as virtues: courage, a sense of imagination, intelligence, discipline—could be turned into vices by power.
Because Trump has no virtues, because he is a speaking stone with narcissistic personality disorder, power has hardly altered him a hair: he’s as resolutely corrupt as ever. His need for praise and for the love of the great has not wavered since he took the oath.
Tillerson is the worst of both worlds for Donald: better at being CEO, and better at governing than Trump. Don’t get me wrong: Rex is not a quality gent. He’s economic royalist of the first order, a plunderer and a criminal member of the one percent. God knows how much damage he’s done to the world in pursuit of avarice. He violated sanctions, and misled his shareholders about climate change. Rex Tillerson is what’s wrong with this country.
For all that, Tillerson is one of the adults in the White House. He’s a grown-up. Tillerson is more successful than Trump, by any calculation. Taking the helm of State was a step down for him, both in terms of power and number of employees. ExxonMobil is almost a state within a state—half of the job of that CEO is to deal with foreign monarchs. Compared to running a planet-destroying conglomerate, getting named Secretary of State is to be dressed in a little brief authority. Briefer now. Growing briefer by the day.
Tillerson is traveling through the stages all Trump’s employees must pass through before they get fired. Trump is cutting him out of communications. Trump is disagreeing with him in public. Trump has probably mocked him to his face.
Even in a perfect White House, Tillerson and Trump would have had disagreements behind the scenes. One is a competent, wicked adult, and the other one is … an advocate for McDonald’s. How could there not be divides between them?
But the big one—Tillerson calling Trump a moron—is the crime that will bring down the axe on the Secretary’s head. When they write Tillerson’s political obituary, that will be the first line: “He called Trump a moron.” Tillerson is the last guy at the party to find the cops have arrived.
It’s funny. For once, Tillerson spoke truth, but that won’t save him. From this moment, no matter what Donald says or does, that burr will stick. Rex’s days are numbered, from this day forward. How could they not be? We know Trump. This is a man who keeps bragging about how immense his five-person inauguration was.
Trump will never, ever, ever let it go. That’s why Tillerson will leave. It wouldn’t matter if he was the greatest Secretary of State since Thomas Jefferson. Trump is compelled by his own nature to do it.
There is a bright side to Rex leaving. According to Buzzfeed:
One US official expressed confidence in Tillerson’s status due to a so-called “suicide pact” forged between Defense Secretary James Mattis, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Tillerson, whereby all three cabinet secretaries vow to leave in the event that the president makes moves against one of them.
Three in one stroke! Please, gentlemen; don’t hesitate on our behalf. Let the bonds of friendship and interest hold strong as ever. If you love honor, please, I urge you, make sure you all together when you go. The President may not thank you for it, but I certainly will.