Putin: Tillerson has ‘fallen in with the wrong company’

Putin: Tillerson has ‘fallen in with the wrong company’
© Getty

Russian President Vladimir Putin in a Thursday meeting reportedly joked that Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonWhite House: Trump will not meet formally with Putin Trump meeting with Putin expected to take place Friday: report Flake: 'Conspiracy theorist' Flynn never belonged as national security adviser MORE had “fallen in with the wrong company” in the years since Putin bestowed upon him the Russian Order of Friendship.

“We awarded your compatriot Mr. Tillerson the Order of Friendship, but he seems to have fallen in with the wrong company and to be steering in the other direction,” Putin told a U.S. citizen, as reported by Reuters.

Putin in 2013 awarded Tillerson the Russian state honor during Tillerson’s time serving as the CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp.

ADVERTISEMENT
“I hope that the wind of cooperation, friendship and reciprocity will eventually put him on the right path,” Putin told the U.S. citizen during the Thursday meeting in Russia.

Tillerson was criticized for having received the award when President Trump first chose him to head the state department, with critics concerned over Tillerson’s potential close ties to the Kremlin from his time working at Exxon Mobil.

A Justice Department special counsel and several congressional committees for the last several months have been investigating Russian attempts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

U.S.-Russia relations have become increasingly tense since the U.S. in 2014 sanctioned Moscow after it annexed Crimea from Ukraine, while Russia has been accused of materially supporting armed separatists in eastern Ukraine.