A CNN panel tore apart the Trump Administration on Friday in response to continued reports on the president’s animus-filled relationship with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Fever-pitch speculation on the relationship kicked off earlier this week, when NBC News reported that Tillerson referred to Trump as a “moron” in a meeting with administration officials.
New York Times reporter Julie Ruth Hirschfeld said she has been hearing about “toxicity” in the relationship for months, from even before the alleged “moron” comment in July.
She said the hostility between Tillerson and Trump stem not only from policy disagreements, but also “stylistic differences.”
CNN National Security Analyst John Kirby lamented that the entire affair is a distraction from important national security issues.
In a harsh indictment of Trump’s leadership, Ret. Col. Steve Warren added that “leaders don’t position themselves to where their immediate subordinates, secretaries of cabinets, are in a position where they’re speaking under their breath about their leader.”
“Leaders don’t put themselves in that position,” he said.
CNN’s David Gregory pointed out that there are always tensions between officials in administrations, but that “there is so much energy being spent not setting off the volatile guy at the top.”
“That is misspent and dysfunctional,” he continued. “I thought that Mr. Businessman Trump was supposed to have the best team, and be functional, and efficient, and America was going to win all the time.”
“In the meantime, it’s a revolving door at the white House.”
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer noted it was remarkable to see a president publicly undermining and criticizing his own secretary of state.
Kirby, who served 30 years in the U.S. military, said he had “never seen anything like this.”
“It was extraordinary: the president got asked at a gaggle what he thought of Tillerson’s comments saying he is not a moron,” Kirby exclaimed. “They should be embarrassed!”
“A, that you had to go out and deny that you called the president a moron and B, that the president has to go out and say, yeah I like that he didn’t call me a moron.”
Watch the pile-on above, via CNN.
[image via screengrab]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]