Rex Tillerson Issues a Parting Warning on Russia

Much work needs to be done on Moscow's 'troubling behavior and actions,' he says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2018 4:32 AM CDT
Updated Mar 14, 2018 6:21 AM CDT
Rex Tillerson Issues Parting Warning on Russia
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pauses while speaking at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, March 13, 2018.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Rex Tillerson didn't thank President Trump in his parting statement after being fired Tuesday—but he didn't call him a moron again, either. Instead, the departing secretary of state praised progress on relations with China and moving toward North Korean denuclearization, but warned of Russia's "troubling behavior and actions," the BBC reports. "Russia must assess carefully as to how its actions are in the best interest of the Russian people and of the world more broadly," Tillerson told reporters. "Continuing on their current trajectory is likely to lead to greater isolation on their part, a situation which is not in anyone's interest." He is being replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Tillerson, who said "much work remains" to be done in responding to Russia's behavior, thanked his colleagues for their "honesty and integrity." The departure follows many months of clashes with Trump and had been predicted so often that DC insiders called it "Rexit," reports the Washington Post. Insiders say Trump considered Tillerson "weak" and mocked the Texan's drawl and mannerisms. The secretary of state reportedly learned of his firing at the same time the news media did, though Trump claimed that he had been discussing it with him for a long time. CNN reports that Steve Goldstein, undersecretary of public affairs at the State Department, was fired by the White House Tuesday after contradicting Trump's version of events. (Read more Rex Tillerson stories.)

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