Ex-Trump campaign adviser on Tillerson remarks: Trump will 'pick a fight with anybody'

A former senior campaign official weighed in on President TrumpDonald TrumpHead of firms that pushed 'Italygate' theory falsely claimed VA mansion was her home: report Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting VA moving to cover gender affirmation surgery through department health care MORE's attack on former Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonHouse passes legislation to elevate cybersecurity at the State Department Biden's is not a leaky ship of state — not yet With salami-slicing and swarming tactics, China's aggression continues MORE during an appearance on “Rising.”

“This is unique to Donald Trump, he’ll pick a fight with anybody — big or small,” Jack KingstonJohon (Jack) Heddens KingstonThe Hill's Top Lobbyists 2020 Lobbying world Disagreements are a part of our process MORE, a senior adviser to the 2016 Trump campaign, told Hill.TV on Thursday.

Kingston added that he would have advised the president to take a different tack and and not engage in such fights.

“Rex Tillerson is not a household name, so why resurrect it,” he said. "It’s just better to say, ‘hey, I get criticism, but I think the results speak for themselves — America is strong.’ ”

Kingston’s comments come after The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Tillerson said during a discussion with lawmakers that Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Joe Biden the statesman Biden's summit with Putin is a good start MORE was better prepared for a key meeting in Germany than President Trump.

Trump later fired back at Tillerson, calling him “dumb as a rock” and claimed that Tillerson “made up” the story.

“Rex Tillerson, a man who is “dumb as a rock” and totally ill prepared and ill equipped to be Secretary of State, made up a story (he got fired) that I was out-prepared by Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Hamburg, Germany,” the president tweeted in part following the Times report.

Tillerson and Trump have long held a contentious relationship, and clashed on a number of foreign policy issues. The former secretary of state also once reportedly called Trump a “moron.”

Other than his meeting with the House Foreign Affairs Committee this week, Tillerson has largely shirked from the public spotlight since his dismissal from the Trump administration in March 2018.

—Tess Bonn