Publisher's note: This informational nugget was sent to me by Ben Shapiro, who represents the Daily Wire, and since this is one of the most topical news events, it should be published on BCN.
The author of this post is James Barrett.
Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson - who was unceremoniously fired by President Trump in March 2018 via Twitter amid an ugly public feud between the two - responded Monday to former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley's claim in her new book that he attempted to solicit her help in sabotaging Trump's agenda.
Over the weekend one particular passage from Haley's new memoir "With All Due Respect" made headlines
: Haley's description of how Tillerson and former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly allegedly approached her about joining them in undermining Trump for the supposed good of the country.
"Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the president, they weren't being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country,"
she writes. "...Tillerson went on to tell me the reason he resisted the president's decisions was because, if he didn't, people would die. This was how high the stakes were, he and Kelly told me. We are doing the best we can do to save the country, they said. We need you to work with us and help us do it. This went on for over an hour."
"It absolutely happened,"
writes Haley. "And instead of saying that to me, they should've been saying that to the president, not asking me to join them on their sidebar plan. It should've been, 'Go tell the president what your differences are, and quit if you don't like what he's doing.' But to undermine a president is really a very dangerous thing. And it goes against the Constitution, and it goes against what the American people want. And it was offensive."
On Monday, Tillerson responded by denying the claim. "During my service to our country as the Secretary of State, at no time did I, nor to my direct knowledge did anyone else serving along with me, take any actions to undermine the President,"
Tillerson told The Washington Post
"My conversations with the President in the privacy of the Oval Office were always candid, frank, and my recommendations straightforward,"
said the former ExxonMobil CEO. "Once the President made a decision, we at the State Department undertook our best efforts to implement that decision."
"Ambassador Haley was rarely a participant in my many meetings and is not in a position to know what I may or may not have said to the President,"
Tillerson said. "I continue to be proud of my service as our country's 69th Secretary of State."
Tillerson did add one qualifying statement, however, saying, "if by resistance and stalling, [Haley] means putting a staff process in place ... to ensure the (president) knew all the pros and cons of what policy decision he might be contemplating so he could make an informed decision, then guilty as charged."
In an appearance
on "Hannity" Monday, Haley addressed questions about her accusation and stood by her claim. Asked if she informed Trump at the time about Tillerson and Kelly allegedly approaching her about undermining him, Haley said yes.
"I did tell the president, and I did tell the National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster,"
said Haley. "And there were others that knew of my concerns in the process."
"And let's keep in mind - I mean, what I have said is this wasn't that these guys thought this was a rogue president,"
she added. "This was that these guys disagreed with his policy. They disagreed with us getting out of the Paris Climate Agreement. They disagreed with us getting out of the Iran deal. They disagreed with moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. So, when the president was charting a different course, and really giving us a strong hand for America and for our friends, they just thought that he was going on in the wrong direction. And so, when they sat me down that day, they were attempting to tell me that if I would work with them, they were trying to save America and keep people from dying."
While Tillerson denies attempting to undermine Trump, their conflicting views have been widely reported. As noted by The Dallas Morning News
, after Trump fired Tillerson in March 2018 their "acrimonious relationship" went public:
- The diplomat, while still serving, reportedly called Trump a "moron." Trump then challenged Tillerson to an IQ test. Tillerson, after being let go, said Trump was an "undisciplined" leader who "doesn't like to read." Trump responded by calling Tillerson "lazy as hell" and "dumb as a rock."
- That tit-for-tat appeared to end in December, when Tillerson laughed away his former boss's insults.
In her new book, Haley describes working with Tillerson as "exhausting" and his attitude as arrogant. "It was no secret that Rex and I had our differences,"
she writes. "He gave off the unmistakable impression that he knew more than everyone else in the room - including the president."