Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he often had to forcefully push back on President Trump’s requests because the would often violate U.S. law, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“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,’ ” said the former Exxon Mobil CEO in rare public remarks in Thursday night in Houston at a fundraiser for the MD Anderson Cancer Center.
“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 added.
Tillerson said Trump would grow frustrated during those conversations.
The former secretary of State, who was replaced by then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo after his dismissal in March, also said he was disturbed by how Trump was able to win the presidency despite knowing so little about the issues.
“I will be honest with you, it troubles me that the American people seem to want to know so little about issues that they are satisfied with a 128 characters,” Tillerson said, referring to Trump’s use of Twitter.
“I don’t want that to come across as a criticism of him,” he added. “It’s really a concern that I have about us as Americans and us as a society and us as citizens.”
Tillerson also said that “there’s no question” Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
“What Russia wants to do is undermine our confidence and undermine the world’s confidence in us,” Tillerson said.
“Many people talk about playing chess. He plays three-dimensional chess,” Tillerson added about Russian President Vladimir Putin.