Like the rest of the world, Rex Tillerson wakes up every morning, reads President Donald Trump’s tweets, and figures out what to do next. The secretary of state commented in an interview with The New York Times Magazine released on Tuesday that his strategy is to be resilient to accommodate messages sent out by the president on social media.
"In a dynamic situation, like we deal with here all the time, and you can go walk around the world, they’re all dynamic, things happen," Tillerson told the magazine. "You wake up the next morning, something’s happened. I wake up the next morning; the president’s got a tweet out there. So I think about, OK, that’s a new condition. How do I want to use that?” he added.
The president famously uses Twitter to get his messages out to the U.S. public, tweeting relentlessly throughout his campaign and continuing to do so since he has been in office. His tweeting habit has been criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike.
But Tillerson suggested he isn't too fazed by the president’s tweeting. "Our strategies and the tactics we’re using to advance the policies have to be resilient enough to accommodate unknowns, OK? So if you want to put that in an unknown category, you can. It certainly kind of comes out that even I would say, ‘I wasn’t expecting that.’ But it doesn’t mean our strategies are not resilient enough to accommodate it,” Tillerson said.
Tillerson’s comments come as relations between himself and the president appear to be increasingly strained, amid rumors Tillerson was at one point considering resigning, and the president openly belittling Tillerson’s diplomatic efforts with North Korea on social media.
In a tweet on October 1, Trump wrote: “I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.”
I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 1, 2017
And this weekend, the secretary of state refused to confirm or deny reports he referred to the president as “a moron” following a summer meeting at the Pentagon, in an alleged conversation reported by NBC News.
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