Trump: Tillerson 'dumb as a rock'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE fired back at Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonEx-Trump campaign adviser on Tillerson remarks: Trump will 'pick a fight with anybody' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi fires back in feud with Trump Trump fires back at 'dumb as a rock' Tillerson on Putin MORE after his former secretary of State called the president undisciplined, unread and willing to break the law. 

"Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Details on Senate's 0B defense bill | Bill rejects Trump plan to skirt budget caps | Backfills money for border wall | Defense chief says more troops could head to Mideast Trump defense chief: US may send more troops to Middle East amid Iran tensions Pompeo slams 'unconscionable' release of 'American Taliban' MORE is doing a great job, I am very proud of him. His predecessor, Rex Tillerson, didn’t have the mental capacity needed. He was dumb as a rock and I couldn’t get rid of him fast enough. He was lazy as hell. Now it is a whole new ballgame, great spirit at State!" Trump tweeted.

Trump's extraordinary attack on his former top diplomat came one day after Tillerson offered a blistering criticism of his ex-boss, one of the clearest signs of the strained relationship between the two men. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"So often, the president would say here's what I want to do and here's how I want to do it and I would have to say to him, 'Mr. President, I understand what you want to do but you can't do it that way. It violates the law,'" Tillerson said at a fundraising event in Houston. 

The former Exxon Mobil CEO said he did not meet Trump until the day he was named secretary of State and described how their relationship got off on the wrong foot almost instantly, saying they "did not have a common value system."

“I'd say, 'Here's what we can do. We can go back to Congress and get this law changed. And if that's what you want to do, there's nothing wrong with that.' I told him, 'I'm ready to go up there and fight the fight, if that's what you want to do,'” he said, adding that Trump would show frustration during those conversations.

Tensions between Trump and Tillerson reached a high point last fall when it was reported that Tillerson privately called Trump a "moron" after a contentious meeting at the Pentagon in the summer of 2017. The then-secretary of State pushed back on the report and praised the president but never specifically denied using the word. 

Despite Trump's claim he "couldn't get rid of him fast enough," Tillerson led the State Department until March 2018, serving 405 days at Foggy Bottom under Trump.

Trump announced in December 2016 he would take the unconventional step of nominating Tillerson before his administration had even begun, saying in a statement that his "broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for secretary of State."