In an off-the-record briefing on Friday, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told reporters that recently fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was informed he was getting let go while sitting on the toilet and "suffering from a stomach bug," according to the Daily Beast, citing multiple sources who were at the briefing.
If what Kelly reportedly said was accurate, that conversation between the two men was the last in a long line of humiliations Tillerson endured since joining the administration. The former ExxonMobil CEO supposedly didn't even want the Secretary of State gig but accepted it when Donald Trump surprisingly offered to him, even though he had no previous government experience. Since then, he has been criticized for starving the State Department of resources and was contradicted publicly by the president on issues ranging from the Qatar-Saudi spat to North Korea. Then there was the time he held a press conference to respond to allegations he had called Trump a "moron." In the few days since his firing, observers have debated whether he was the worst secretary of State in history or merely a very bad one.
Even in that context, Kelly's off-the-record remarks "stunned" journalists on Friday, reported the Beast. It seems like an unnecessary bit of cruelty to mention that Tillerson was in an indelicate position when he got the bad news. Then again, the press briefing was a wild one, apparently—according to Axios, Kelly also said Trump's own loose lips were responsible for rumors about upcoming White House firings, defended Housing and Urban Development head Ben Carson's spending $31,000 of government funds on furniture, and dismissed incoming National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow's past cocaine use by saying that the 90s were “a crazy time.”
So are the late 2010s.
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