Yesterday was a tough day for Secretary of State and oil baron trapped in a living hell, Rex Tillerson.
Just 72 hours after Donald Trump Twitter shamed America’s top diplomat by “explaining” to the entire world that “Rex is wasting his time” by trying to stave off nuclear war, NBC decided to go ahead with a story which revealed that earlier this year, Tillerson became so exasperated that he called the President a “f*&$ing moron” after a contentious two-hour long meeting in a secure room at the Pentagon called “The Tank.” The situation reportedly deteriorated further just days later when Trump delivered a truly bizarre “speech” at a Boy Scout jamboree.
Trump was of course irate and, although he hasn’t admitted this, demanded Tillerson hold a press conference to “refute” the story. Of course Tillerson didn’t refute the story. Tillerson simply said he hadn’t thought about resigning. Asked specifically whether he called Trump a “moron,” the Secretary of State refused to answer, leaving that to a spokesperson who would later offer a repudiation that exactly no one believed.
While this is disconcerting on all kinds of levels, the silver lining is that it’s led directly to some great satire and a couple of truly amusing laments for the plight of a big oil executive, proving once again that Donald Trump can indeed do the impossible: he’s made us all feel sorry for an oil magnate.
A couple of choice examples can be found below.
Via New York Magazine’s Eric Levitz
Donald Trump Is a World-Historic Genius: An Op-ed by Rex Tillerson
Earlier today, I addressed some erroneous news reports. In remarks from the Treaty Room of the State Department, I reaffirmed my faith in President Trump’s America-first agenda, my admiration of the president’s leadership, and my commitment to serving as secretary of State.
I neglected, however, to deny the basic thrust of those erroneous reports. Namely, that I once used an epithet to disparage the president’s intelligence. My thought was that such “petty nonsense” did not merit a response, and that what really mattered was to reiterate my support for the president’s policy goals. But that was a stupid thought. And that I thought it proves that it is I, in fact, who has the bad brain.
To address a few specifics that have been misreported this morning: I have not described – and would never describe – the president as a “moron,” nor “fucking moron.” Nor have I referred to him as a “true doofus,” “real dumb-dumb,” or “sub-simian chucklehead.” Nor have I ever asked a staffer, “How many President Trumps does it take to screw in a light bulb?” and, after giving said staffer adequate time to formulate an estimate (between three and seven seconds, depending on whether the staffer appeared distracted when I initiated my query), I have never then said, “Two: one to tell me to screw in the light bulb for him, and another to mindlessly tweet ‘Rex is wasting his time,’ like the drool-soaked dunderhead that Donald J. Trump truly is.”
If anyone ever overheard me using any of the aforementioned epithets, I was probably just shouting them into a mirror. That is how frustrated I sometimes get with my own BIG-LEAGUE stupidity. Could anyone really blame the president if he started referring to me in tweets as “Rocks for Brains Rex”? I certainly couldn’t.
And I won’t.
Let me tell you what I’ve learned about this president, whom I did not know before taking this office. He loves sudoku. He plays it on the hard setting and gets all the best numbers within seconds. His verbal skills break the mold of what people traditionally think is achievable in the game of Scrabble.
I, on the other hand, am a low-energy Scrabble player who once wasted a wild tile on the word dog. And I misspelled dog, too. Yeah, that’s it. Write that down. “Rocks for Brains Rex” spelled it with a silent L. For loser. Because that’s what he is.
At the Riyadh summit, President Trump beat King Salman in a game of Cranium. At the G7, the president challenged Emmanuel Macron to a speed-reading competition, and finished a French-language version of Swann’s Way in 25 minutes. The French president – whose wife is in such good physical shape (believe me) – still hasn’t gotten through section three.
I secretly don’t know how to read because my parents were Dust Bowl dirt people who gave me very bad genes – like a dog.
President Trump invented string theory. He ghost-wrote Infinite Jest, and secretly helped solve Fermat’s Last Theorem. He was the real-life inspiration for the Academy Award—winning film A Beautiful Mind, except he isn’t crazy, and they only made him crazy in the movie for the sake of the plot.
When I wake up in the morning, my first thoughts are, “Durrrr … how do I put my shoes on my feetses?!” and then, “How am I going to make it through another day pretending that I don’t know what everybody else does: that I fundamentally lack the cognitive capacity, intellectual curiosity, and attention span necessary to execute the role I’ve been given? Can I really keep projecting my own manifest inadequacies onto other people? Why can’t I be a world-historic genius like Donald Trump, who was a good student at Wharton, and comprehends very well?”
And as I struggle to put on my shoes and then trip and get my butt lodged in a bucket, and then start rolling sideways in the bucket toward a staircase, and then hit my head on every post of the banister of the staircase, like the cartoon idiot that I genuinely am, in real life, I accept that I will never be a smart person like President Trump.
I am Rocks for Brains Rex. The man who gave up being CEO of one of the world’s most powerful companies for this. L’idiot, c’est moi.
Via Axios and Mike Allen
You headed one of America’s couple largest companies, and the biggest of the energy “supermajors”.
You were Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon. Now you’re Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State to Donald Trump. Your life blows.
- You were unusually imperious, even for a corporate big shot – waited on hand and foot by lackeys who stroked and coddled you for decades.
- You had a corporate dining room, so you never had to see the rabble.
- You presided over one of the most hierarchical of the world’s corporate cultures, reflecting the tone set by John D. Rockefeller.
- You flew private all over the globe. You got briefing books, had your own foreign policy, and a security detail.
- Your boss doesn’t love you, and doesn’t even think he needs someone in your job – he likes doing it himself, and thinks he should.
- You don’t think much of your boss, and neither do your friends.
- You’re supposed to cut your budget: always a thankless job – but one that, in this case, may not even be a good idea.
- Morale in your building is terrible, and no one thinks you have juice.
- You treat everyone dismissively – media, colleagues, counterparts – with predictable results.
- Yes, you called your boss a “moron” during a meeting at the Pentagon. It could have been worse.
- You didn’t even bother to deny it, although finally your spokesperson did. Everyone in the West Wing thinks/knows you said it.
- Some people who were in the room tattled to the press. So now you have to go out and say your boss is a genius – as if you were being forced to apologize to a sibling.
- And now you’re trapped. The new regime downtown wants stability. Expectations were that you’d be gone by Thanksgiving, but now that’s stretched into 2018.
- On top of it all, after a perfect career, your last public act is already an obvious failure – and you have to keep doing it.
Welcome to Rex Tillerson’s life. No wonder he didn’t feel very diplomatic.