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

A former senior campaign official weighed in on President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? MORE's attack on former Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonTrump says No. 2 State Dept. official could become next Russia envoy The Hill's Morning Report - Trump searches for backstops amid recession worries State Dept. extends travel ban to North Korea 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 KingstonWhy don't we pay congressional salary based on results? Panel: Why is Tom Steyer running for President? Panel: AOC claps back at Pelosi and Bernie surges in polls 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 PutinPutin orders response to US missile test The Hill's Morning Report: How will Trump be received at G-7? Joe Walsh 'strongly, strongly considering' a primary challenge to Trump 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