You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Rex Tillerson found it hard to work for a president who “doesn’t like to read.”

Alex Wong/Getty

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave a rare public interview in Houston Thursday, during which he confirmed many critiques of his former boss. Speaking with CBS News’s Bob Schieffer, Tillerson said, “What was challenging for me coming from the disciplined, highly process-oriented Exxon Mobil 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 kind of says, ‘This is what I believe.’”

As Secretary of State, part of Tillerson’s job seemed to include pushing back against Trump’s desire to do illegal acts: “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.’”

When Tillerson was fired as Secretary of State in March 2018, he reportedly learned the news from reading Donald Trump’s Twitter feed. Not surprisingly, Tillerson doesn’t seem to be a fan of social media. In the interview, Tillerson credited Trump’s rise in part to his ability to communicate via Twitter.

“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.

But he also added that his remarks weren’t directed at Trump but about the larger role of social media. “I don’t want that to come across as a criticism of him,” Tillerson emphasized. “It’s really a concern that I have about us as Americans and us as a society and us as citizens”