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From the personal diary of Rex Tillerson



Well, Diary, I got the phone call from Gen. Kelly while I was on Air Force Two, flying home from Africa.

“Hello, Rex,” he began. I could tell from his tone something was up.

“Hi, John,” I replied. It was his call; I waited.

“Rex, I’m afraid I have some bad news.”

I wondered what it could be. My first thought was North Korea. What, I wondered, has Trump done now?

“Rex, the President has decided to let you go.”

It took a moment for it to sink in. Before I could reply, John was talking again. “He wants you to know he’s really grateful for your service. He really likes you personally. It’s just that the two of you differ on too many important issues.”

That’s certainly true, Dear Diary. I suppose the biggest disagreement between us was over the Iran nuclear deal. It’s a good one. Obama’s team did a good job in a difficult situation. The deal is supported by all of our allies. I repeatedly told Trump it will prevent Tehran from ever getting a nuclear weapon. But he never believed me.

“Rex,” he would tell me, “I understand these things better than anyone.” Never mind that I was his Secretary of State. He wanted to personally run his own foreign policy shop. I remember once he actually told me that Obama had purposely allowed loopholes in the deal, because Obama was secretly a Shiite Muslim and he wanted Iran to dominate the Middle East. I’m a pretty outspoken guy, Dear Diary—you don’t get to run ExxonMobil by being a shrinking violet! But that left me at a loss for words.

Renda, my wife, and I used to have fights about Trump. Oh, I don’t mean knock down, drag out fights, just disagreements. But she could be pretty vocal. She didn’t like him, didn’t like a lot of the people who worked for him, was turned off by Trump’s sex scandals and affairs. A lot of my friends at the Army Navy Country Club apparently felt the same way. After I became Secretary, I recall walking into the restaurant and the whole place grew silent. I was sitting with my old friend, John Lehman, and asked him what was up.

“Rex,” he said, “they all think you’re crazy. They all think Trump is crazy. He’s just going to use you, chew you up and spit you out. They wonder why you took the job.”

Diary, these past fourteen months haven’t been easy! I’ve been ridiculed, shunned, yelled at. Even Tyler, my eldest boy, told me I had sold my soul by working for Trump. But I told myself that I was doing my duty. When the President of the United States calls on you to serve, you have no choice. I would have done the same thing if Obama had asked me to work for him.

How do I feel now? Well, it’s still early in the process. I feel shocked and surprised. A little bitter, I admit. After all I’ve done for the guy—all the shit I shielded him from—all his undermining of me. Looking back, I see more clearly that I never really liked or respected him. But the power and aura of the Presidency is so strong, it can blind you to everything else.

Would I do it again? Probably not. And what will I do going forward? Money’s not the problem. I’m a very rich man. Renda and I will be just fine. But I’m only 66 years old. I need to do something, to feel like I’m making a difference. I’ve considered writing a book, which in my mind I’ve already titled “I Was Donald Trump’s Secretary of State.” And just this morning, MSNBC reached out to ask me if I’d consider being a guest commentator. Of course, they’d want me to be anti-Trump, like other Republicans they employ: Michael Steele and Steve Schmidt, for instance. I’m not sure I’m ready for that. I mean, Trump did give me the best job I ever had. It would be wrong to turn on him so soon.

But I might. The stories I could tell would make people’s hair turn white. He really is a nutjob, and I figure he’s only going to get worse from now on. I, personally, don’t know if he colluded with Russia. As you know, Dear Diary, I’m pretty close to Putin myself, but the only time we ever discussed Trump, except in an official capacity, was one time, just after I was sworn in, when he said, “Rex, I like your President Trump. This is a man I can do business with.”

I wasn’t exactly sure what Putin meant when he said that, and now that I’ve been fired, I find his words recurring in my mind. What kind of business did Putin mean? Undermining American morale? Breaking up the E.U. and NATO? And what about this nerve gas stuff in England, the one that Sarah Sanders basically blew off the other day? I tried for a year to get Trump to criticize Russia but he never would, not even a little. The more I think about it, the more I can entertain the possibility that Putin really does have something on Trump, and is blackmailing him.

Well, we’ll just have to see. Meanwhile, I’m going to take a good, long break; I need it. Renda and I will fly to Texas tomorrow, where she can ride her quarter horses on our ranch, and I can sleep for about a billion years. Lord knows, I’m tired.

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