Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking at an event in Texas with PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff, described President Donald Trump’s actions, with regards to Ukraine, as “wrong” on Monday evening.
Tillerson was at first reluctant to speak about the matter, particularly when Woodruff asked him what he’d do differently in the situation if he were still Secretary of State, CNN reported. After trying to sidestep that question, Woodruff pressed on, and Tillerson finally did reveal some of his own thoughts about the matter.
“Clearly, asking for personal favors and using United States assets as collateral is wrong,” Tillerson said, crafting a statement that subtly refers to Trump’s interactions with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump allegedly asked him to investigate a political rival in exchange for a meeting and military aid to Kyiv.
“There’s just no two ways about it — so if you’re seeking some kind of personal gain and you’re using whether it’s American foreign aid or American weapons or American influence, that’s wrong,” Tillerson added.
Tillerson’s views are shared by a good number of Americans across the country. An ABC News/Ipsos poll released earlier on Monday demonstrated that 7-in-10 voters view Trump’s actions during the Ukraine call as wrong. A majority, 51 percent, say those actions are also impeachable, believing that Trump should be removed from office over them.
Tillerson was appointed by Trump to be his first secretary of State, but the two frequently butted heads, and at one point Trump even implied that Tillerson’s intelligence was far inferior to his own.
After media reports suggested Tillerson had called Trump a “moron” behind his back, Trump called those reports “fake news.”
“But if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win,” Trump said, the Washington Post reported at the time.
Trump fired Tillerson in March of 2018, replacing him with Mike Pompeo, who had been CIA director before becoming secretary of State.