Rex Tillerson left his position as CEO of Exxon to become incoming President Donald Trump’s Secretary of State. Tillerson, who had not been involved in politics before, was considered an unconventional choice for an unconventional President. The match did not work as well as hoped and Tillerson left the White House in March of 2018.
The former Secretary of State was asked about Trump’s dealings with Israel during a panel Wednesday at Harvard University. Tillerson told the panel that the President was not careful around Benjamin Netanyahu and had been “played” by the Israeli leader.
Trump has made his support of Israel a hallmark of his presidency. Netanyahu is currently trying to hold down his position of Prime Minister as Israel holds parliamentary elections.
Tillerson said that Netanyahu was Machiavellian in his relationship with Trump. He said of Israel, “They did that with the president on a couple of occasions, to persuade him that ‘We’re the good guys, they’re the bad guys.’ We later exposed it to the president so he understood, ‘You’ve been played.”
The former Secretary of State also said the best policy was to push Israel and Palestine towards a two state solution. He continued:
“I did believe that we were at a moment in time where perhaps we could chart a way where the Arab world could support an outcome that the Palestinians might not think was perfect — and in the past, if it wasn’t perfect, it didn’t happen — but with enough encouragement, pressure from the Arab world, that we could get it close enough that the Palestinians would finally agree. And in my view, it was a two-state solution.”