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 TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary MORE's attack on former Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonThe four China strategies Trump or Biden will need to consider Trump flails as audience dwindles and ratings plummet How the US could respond to Russia's support of the Taliban 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 KingstonLobbying firm cuts ties to Trent Lott amid national anti-racism protests Thankfully, the doctor is in Ex-Trump campaign adviser: Biden would be able to 'sit down and get some things done' with Republicans 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 PutinRussia offered help with coronavirus vaccine, US declined: report Bill Gates: 'We'd be lucky' to have coronavirus vaccine before end of 2020 Russia says coronavirus vaccine will be ready for doctors in two weeks 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