Rex Wayne Tillerson (born March 23, 1952) is an American diplomat and civil engineer, former energy executive, and government official who served as the 69th United States Secretary of State from February 1, 2017 to March 13, 2018 under President Donald Trump. Tillerson joined Exxon in 1975 and rose to serve as chairman and chief executive of ExxonMobil from 2006 to 2017.
- Should the United States seek so-called energy independence in an elusive effort to insulate this country from the impact of world events on the economy, or should Americans pursue the path of international engagement, seeking ways to better compete within the global market for energy? Like the Council's founders, I believe we must choose the course of greater international engagement ... The central reality is this: The global free market for energy provides the most effective means of achieving U.S. energy security by promoting resource development, enabling diversification, multiplying our supply channels, encouraging efficiency, and spurring innovation.
- Addressing the Council on Foreign Relations (March 2007), as quoted in "Mr. Exxon Goes to Washington (Maybe)" by Liam Dennining, in Bloomberg Gadfly
- We have long supported a carbon tax as the best policy of those being considered. Replacing the hodge-podge of current, largely ineffective regulations with a revenue-neutral carbon tax would ensure a uniform and predictable cost of carbon across the economy. It would allow market forces to drive solutions. It would maximize transparency, reduce administrative complexity, promote global participation and easily adjust to future developments in our understanding of climate science as well as the policy consequences of these actions.
- "The Path Forward in Today’s Energy Environment," a speech made as Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, at the 37th Annual Oil and Money Conference in London on (19 October 2016).
- [a] "fucking moron"
- Remark about Donald Trump in July 2017, as quoted in "Rex Tillerson Forced to Apologize for Factually Correct Statement About Donald Trump" by Jay Willis in GQ (4 October 2017)
- ”The places I come from, we don’t deal with that kind of petty nonsense... I’m just not going to be part of this effort to divide this administration.”
- Remark about the "moron" remark. As quoted in Flegenheimer, Matt (Oct. 4 2017). "‘Petty Nonsense’ of Washington: Tillerson Joins in Thrashing the Capital". New York Times.
- It was challenging for me, coming from the disciplined, highly process-oriented Mobil-Exxon Corporation, to go to work for a man who is pretty undisciplined, doesn't like to read, doesn't read briefing reports, doesn't like to get into the details of a lot of things but rather just says, "This is what I believe, and you can try to convince me otherwise, but most of the time you're not going to do that."... We did not have a common value system. When the President would say, "Here is what I want to do and here's how I want to do it," and I'd 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. It violates a treaty. He got really frustrated."
- Remark on working for Trump, during interview with Bob Schieffer on "CBS This Morning" (7 December 2018)
- 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.
- Commenting about Twitter in 2018.
Quotes about Rex Tillerson
- Sorted alphabetically by author or source
- Now we know why and when Rex Tillerson called Donald Trump a “fucking moron.”
According to NBC News, the secretary of state muttered the remark to colleagues on July 20 right after a meeting in the Pentagon — a review of U.S. military forces and operations worldwide — attended by Trump, his main advisers, and the top brass. … As the NBC report dryly put it, Trump’s “comments raised questions about his familiarity with the nuclear posture and other issues, officials said.” Those “other issues” included, well, nearly every issue and continent brought up, from Korea to Afghanistan and everywhere in between. Pentagon officials, the report continued, were “rattled” by the president’s lack of understanding on all fronts — though the meeting took place a full six months after he’d taken office.
- Fred Kaplan, in regard to Tillerson's reported remarks on Donald Trump, in "Trump’s Nuclear Meltdown" in Slate (11 October 2017)
- So far we've heard that Tillerson (accurately) called the president a fucking moron, we've heard Tillerson deny that he did that, and we've heard President Trump call the whole story "fake news" before adding that he wanted him and Tillerson to compare IQ tests so he could prove he's smarter. That's what politics is now, I guess. But one thing we haven't yet heard is the "why."
- Rex is an exceptionally competent executive, understands geopolitics and knows how to win for his team. His team is now the USA.
- Mike Pompeo 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!
- Donald Trump, on Twitter, quoted in Trump: Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Is “Dumb as a Rock” and “Lazy as Hell” in Slate (December 7, 2018)
- To complicate things, Tillerson was having rows with the White House over personnel for the State Department. Priebus called a meeting with Tillerson and held a dozen White House staffers on the patio outside the chief of staff's corner office. At one point Tillerson had adamantly opposed the person suggested by the White House for a senior post and he had hired his own person. Johnny DeStefano, the director of personnel for the White House, objected. Tillerson erupted. "No one's going to tell me who to hire and not to hire. When I got this job I was told I got to hire my people." "You get to hire your people," Priebus said, intervening. "But the problem we've got here is that it's going so slowly. Number one, we're bogged down not having personnel where they need to be. Number two, it's making us look like fools. You need to either hire these people by the end of July, or I'm going to have to start picking people." Tillerson was soon engaged in another fight, this time in the Oval Office and in front of the president. He belittled policy adviser Stephen Miller, a Trump favorite, charging he didn't know what he was talking about. "What did you ever really run?" he asked Miller condescendingly.
- Bob Woodward, Fear: Trump in the White House (2018), p. 132-133
- Mattis, Tillerson and Coats are all conservatives or apolitical people who wanted to help him and the country. Imperfect men who answered the call to public service. They were not the deep state. Yet each departed with cruel words from their leader. They concluded that Trump was an unstable threat to their country. Think about that for a moment: The top national security leaders thought the president of the United States was a danger to the country.
- Bob Woodward, Rage (2020), p. 387