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Robert Reich: Memo To Tillerson About The Moron – OpEd

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To: Rex Tillerson
From: Robert Reich
Subject: The Moron

I can understand why you feel Washington is a place of “petty nonsense,” as you said Wednesday when you called a news conference to rebut charges that you called Trump a moron last summer after a meeting of national security officials at the Pentagon.

I’m also reasonably sure you called him a moron, which doesn’t make Washington any less petty. You probably called him a moron because almost all of us out here in the rest of America routinely call him that.

But you’re right: There are far more important issues than the epithet you likely used to describe your boss.

On the other hand, your calling him a moron wouldn’t itself have mushroomed into a headline issue – even in petty Washington – if there weren’t deep concerns about the President’s state of mind to begin with.

I bet every cabinet secretary has from time to time called his boss a moron. I was a cabinet secretary once, and although I don’t recall ever saying Bill Clinton was a moron, I might have thought it, especially when I found out about Monica Lewinsky. But Bill Clinton was no moron.

The reason your moronic comment about Trump made the headlines is that Trump really is a moron, in the sense you probably meant it: He’s impulsive, mercurial, often cruel, and pathologically narcissistic. Some psychologists who have studied his behavior have concluded he’s a sociopath.

Washington is petty, but it’s not nonsensical. It latches on to gaffes only when they reveal something important. As journalist Michael Kinsley once said, “A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth – some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.”

Face it. You are Secretary of State – the nation’s chief diplomat – under a president who’s dangerously nuts.

Last weekend, for example, Trump publicly said you were wasting your time trying to open talks with North Korea. Does he have a better idea? Any halfway rational president would ask his Secretary of State to try to talk with Kim Jong-Un.

And there’s Iran. You and Defense Secretary James Mattis have both stated the nuclear agreement should be retained. That, too, is only rational. The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran has been honoring the agreement. Without it, Iran would restart its nuclear program.

But Trump is on the verge of decertifying the agreement in order to save face (in the 2016 campaign he called it an “embarrassment to America”) and further puncture Barack Obama’s legacy. His narcissism is endangering the world.

You tried to mediate the dispute between Qatar and its Arab neighbors. That, too, was the reasonable thing to do.

But then Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner sided with the United Arab Emirates, where they have business interests. Less than one hour after you called for a “calm and thoughtful dialogue” between Qatar and its neighbors, Trump blasted Qatar for financing terrorism. That was also nuts.

You are rightly appalled at Trump’s behavior. I can understand why you distanced yourself when Trump blamed “both sides” for violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. And why you were horrified when Trump gave a wildly partisan speech to the Boy Scouts of America, which you once headed.

Given all this, I’m not surprised to hear that you’ve talked about resigning, but that Mattis and John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, have talked you out of it.

I urge you not to resign. America and the world need sane voices speaking into the ear of our Narcissist-in-Chief.

As Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee said recently, it’s you, Mattis, and Kelly who “help separate our country from chaos.” I don’t think Corker was referring to chaos abroad.

Let Trump fire you if he wants to. That would further reveal what a moron he is.

But if you really did want to serve the best interests of this nation, there’s another option you might want to consider.

Quietly meet with Mattis, Kelly, and Vice President Pence. Come up with a plan for getting most of the cabinet to join in a letter to Congress saying Trump is unable to discharge the duties of his office.

Under the 25th Amendment, that would mean Trump is fired.


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Robert Reich

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fifteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good," which is available in bookstores now. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism," which is streaming now.

One thought on “Robert Reich: Memo To Tillerson About The Moron – OpEd

  • October 8, 2017 at 6:28 pm
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    We are blessed that Mr Trump is in the Oval Office and not Mrs Clinton. ‘Nuff said, but there’s more. No president in the last thirty-five years – not Reagan, nor either Bush, Clinton, not Obama – has been the slightest bit aware of the danger posed to our prosperity and security by our annual half-a-trillion dollar a year trade deficits. Dollars, jobs, technology, productivity, income inequality; all impacted in ways ignored by the likes of Robert Reich – a former Labor Secretary to boot – who regularly and rightfully bewails the economic stagnation of our middle class. Trump’s not solved the problem, but step one is seeing that we have one, and he nailed that one while still a candidate. God bless President Trump and Wilbur Ross and their attempts to mitigate this most clear and present danger.

    Reply

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