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Donald Trump and Rex Tillerson Each Swear the Other Is the Dumbass

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was presented with an enviable opportunity to publicly drag his former boss, President Trump, during a sit-down with CBS News reporter Bob Schieffer in Houston last night. For the most part, Tillerson restrained himself, limiting his criticism to things we already know, but which are still worth repeating: Namely, that Trump doesn’t care to read anything and isn’t particularly interested in learning what a POTUS actually can and cannot do.

Tillerson describes his secretaryship as essentially the work of an adult babysitter tasked with keeping his boss from willfully breaking the law. According to Tillerson, this is why his and Trump’s working relationship eventually broke down. The former Exxon CEO said that he had a hard time working for someone “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 kind of says, ‘This is what I believe.’” Fair.

Behind the scenes, Tillerson reportedly called Trump “a fucking moron” during a 2017 meeting at the Pentagon. Though the language at last night’s Q&A was milder, it does feel like a passive confirmation.

More disturbing was Tillerson’s description of the president’s apparent disregard for the law. “So often, the president would say, ‘Here’s what I want to do, and here’s how I want to do it,’ ” Tillerson said, “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.’” Apparently, being reminded of limitations only further infuriated Trump. “I’d say here’s what we can do,” Tillerson continued. “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.” (Tillerson didn’t specify what policy Trump was trying to implement—probably something regressive and terrifying.)

Thursday’s event was a rare public appearance for Tillerson, who kept a low profile after getting fired in March in particularly humiliating fashion. Like other Trump White House escapees who’ve opted to speak freely about the administration only once out the door, he didn’t address the question of what motivates cabinet members to damage their reputations by serving a president who is, by their own telling, amoral and reckless. Tillerson did admit that he’d never met Trump before being appointed as the nation’s top diplomat in 2016. According to Tillerson’s own self-mythology, he was prepared to spend his twilight years bouncing grandchildren on his knee atop a pile of oil money at his palatial Texas ranch until his wife declared that the White House appointment was a sign that “God’s not through with you.”

Neither, it appears, is Donald Trump: