Looks like Secretary of State Rex Tillerson may have finally had enough of being undermined by Donald Trump, and decided to do a little undermining of his own.
In an extraordinary exchange at the tail end of his “Fox News Sunday” interview this morning, Tillerson pointedly, and repeatedly, isolated Trump's despicable responses to the white supremacist terror in Charlottesville, Virginia, from his own, and from “American values.”
Host Chris Wallace asked Tillerson about the diplomatic repercussions of a denunciation that was issued by the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and Tillerson started off fine with a boilerplate dodge:
But then Wallace zeroed in on the weakness in that statement, pressing Tillerson to respond specifically to the U.N. panel's criticism of Trump. Tillerson's responses were breathtaking in their conspicuous absence of any defense of Trump, but more so for the conspicuous hanging of Trump out to dry (emphasis added):
WALLACE: And when the president gets into the kind of controversy he does, and the U.N. committee responds the way it does, it seems to say they begin to doubt whether we are living those values.
TILLERSON: I don't believe anyone doubts the American people's values, or the commitment of the American government or the government's agencies to advancing those values and defending those values.
WALLACE: And the president's values?
TILLERSON: The president speaks for himself, Chris. [massively awkward pause]
WALLACE: Are you separating yourself from that, sir?
TILLERSON: I've spoken. I've made my own comments as to our values as well in a speech I gave to the State Department this past week.
That awkward pause was Chris Wallace writing headlines for Tillerson's firing in his head. I'm going to go with “Rex No Longer 'N Effect.”
Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.