U.S. Department of State / Flickr Secretary Tillerson Delivers Opening Remarks at...
U.S. Department of State / Flickr

The previously all-but-invisible Rex Tillerson is apparently on much thinner ice after correctly calling Donald Trump a “fucking moron” than we originally thought.

As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took to the microphones Wednesday morning to address reports that he had called his boss, President Donald Trump, a “fucking moron,” aides in the White House held out hope that he would offer his resignation.

Tillerson didn’t deny having questioned the president’s intellectual capacities. But he insisted that he wasn’t going anywhere either, much to the chagrin of three White House officials who vented to The Daily Beast in real time about how they wished he would “just leave,” as one put it.

This is the sort of gossip that has preceded each of the last Trump cannings, even as the current spokesperson-of-the-moment harrumphs about Trump having great “confidence” in each of them. First Trump stuck Tillerson in a gutted State Department, then he all but forgot about him, then Rex may or may not have said a thing and Trump is sitting in the Oval Office chewing the furniture at the thought of it.

The original report sent Trump into a fury this morning, a White House official said, and Tillerson moved with corporate efficiency to tamp it down.

Of course it sent Trump into a fury. Trump goes into a fury when the Diet Coke button installed on his desk does not result in a Beverage Butler rushing to his side with a fizzy drink, and the man is sent into nuclear meltdown over the thought that Americans coping with the destruction of their homes and communities aren’t kissing his ass as much as they ought to be. Hearing that one of his underlings privately insulted him is the sort of thing that would lead him to deploy troops to whatever state he thinks Rex Tillerson came from.

There’s talk that Rex is somewhat protected from the White House-led sabotage that would be expected from the Team Trump lickspittles in this situation, due to having two very powerful friends.

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.

I would be cautious of putting too much stock in that theory, however; it presumes two other Trump appointees would have a stray principle to stand on, and we’ve seen absolutely no evidence of that during the entire Trump administration. The notion of Steven Mnuchin doing a noble deed even if Donald Trump did not want him to would get you kicked out of the 2017 writers’ room, and 2017’s writers have let some very sketchy stuff skate by them.

Other Trump insiders point to the potentially hefty tax bill Tillerson would have to pay if he resigns before serving a year in government.

Now that I believe. I don’t buy that the man who booked a taxpayer-funded flight to watch the solar eclipse from atop Ft. Knox’s gold will resign in a huff if Donald fires another core member from the rapidly dwindling team, but I do believe Rex Tillerson will hang on through whatever humiliations Donald can dream up to put him through, if doing so will allow Rex Tillerson to save big bucks on his tax bill. We may have found the one principle everyone left in the White House can agree on.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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