As the White House plunges deeper into chaos, Trump appears to be moving to publicly shame Rex Tillerson by unceremoniously pushing him out as secretary of state.
Donald Trump doesn't just demand loyalty, he demands complete fealty. And it now looks like Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's fate may have been determined the day the story leaked last month that he had privately derided Trump as being a "moron."
MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle subsequently reported that her sources told her the exact quote from Tillerson was that Trump was an “effing moron.”
On Thursday, in a coordinated leaking campaign from the White House, word spread that Trump is planning to unceremoniously push the former Exxon CEO out of his job at the State Department and replace him with true-believer Trump loyalist, Mike Pompeo, who currently oversees the CIA. (While serving in Congress, Pompeo fanned the Benghazi conspiracy flames for years.)
The pending sacking of Tillerson is the latest evidence of a White House contracting and one where Trump worship is the most important commodity.
As a Washington Post headline quickly noted, "Rex Tillerson’s exit and the Trump administration’s inevitable drift toward yes-men."
And specifically, yes-men who don't insult the boss.
Asked on Thursday whether Tillerson will keep his job, Trump only replied, "He's here. Rex is here."
What prompted the usually low-key Tillerson to openly mock Trump in private? It was because Trump stunned his top generals when he demanded the United States not only reverse its decades-long policy of reducing its nuclear arsenal, but that the U.S. increase its nuclear stockpile, tenfold.
Following NBC's scoop, Tillerson was soon forced to address the press in a strange bout of public contrition. He refused to deny the "moron" report, but stressed Trump is “smart” and said he was “making America great again.”
Nonetheless, the "moron" crack certainly seemed to rattle Trump. In an with Forbes magazine, he soon challenged his secretary of state to an IQ competition, apparently to prove he is not a moron.
But Tillerson isn't the only top aide who has been caught mocking Trump in private. It was recently reported that the National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster unloaded on Trump during a dinner, deriding him as an "idiot," and a "dope" with the intelligence of a "kindergartner."
Will McMaster be the next aide voted off for failing Trump's fealty test?