Hours after being fired on Twitter by President Trump, Rex Tillerson gave a farewell speech in which he never said the word “Trump” — and yet still managed to throw plenty of shade at the commander in chief he once reportedly called a “moron.”
Tillerson dwelled on themes like “treating each other with honesty and integrity,” “respect for one another” and “accountability.” He mentioned how he was proud of how his department addressed allegations of sexual harassment.
Trump reportedly fired Tillerson because of concerns he was insufficiently loyal and has made clear that he expects top government officials to protect him. Tillerson made a point of reminding his “service officers and civil service colleagues” that “we all took our oath of office. Whether you’re career employee or political appointee, we’re all bound by that commitment. To support and defend the constitution. To bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”
The Order of Friendship recipient also broke with the administration and called out Russia by name.
“Much work remains to respond to the troubling behavior and actions on the part of the Russian government,” Tillerson said. “Russia must assess carefully as to how their actions are in the best interests of the Russian people and the world more broadly.”
Tillerson was fired hours after criticizing Russia for the poisoning of an ex-spy in the UK. During a news conference, Trump said he’ll only condemn Russia if he “agrees” with the facts.
As Trump imposes tariffs, alienates allies, and talks about not wanting to admit people to the US from “shithole countries,” Tillerson dwelled on the need for cooperation and diplomacy.
After mentioning problems in Syria and Iraq, Tillerson said “nothing is possible without allies and partners.”
Alluding to his colleagues at the state department, Tillerson said, “The world needs selfless leaders like these, ready to work with long-standing allies, new emerging partners and allies, who now, many are struggling as democracies and in some cases, are dealing with human tragedy, crisis of natural disasters, literally crawling themselves out of those circumstances.”
At another point, he bragged about how the state department and military have a close working relationship, “where we all agree that US leadership starts with diplomacy.”
After mentioning a number of government officials by name throughout the speech, Tillerson closed by “thanking all for the privilege of serving beside you for the last 14 month. To Americans for your devotion to a free and open society… to honesty and the hard you do to support this government with your tax dollars.”“
He left to return “to private life” without taking questions or mentioning Trump’s name.