Tillerson Delivers Loaded Speech, Warns of 'Growing Crisis in Ethics And Integrity'

| MAY 16, 2018 | 7:18 PM
Outgoing Secretary Of State Rex Tillerson Speaks At The State Department After President Trump Fired Tillerson Via Twitter Earlier In Day

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivered a pointed speech on Wednesday, warning of “a growing crisis in ethics and integrity” in American democracy months after President Donald Trump fired him over Twitter

The former chief executive of ExxonMobil gave a firey commencement address at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, on Wednesday, warning the graduating class that leaders who “conceal the truth” also risk damaging freedom.

“If our leaders seek to conceal the truth or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom,” Tillerson said. 

While the former secretary of state stayed away from mentioning President Donald Trump or any current leaders by name, many online quickly connected the dots regarding Tillerson's speech. 

“A responsibility of every American citizen to each other is to preserve and protect our freedom by recognizing what truth is and is not, what a fact is and is not,” Tillerson said.

“If we do not as Americans confront the crisis of ethics and integrity in our society and among our leaders in both the public and private sector — and regrettably at times even the nonprofit sector — then American democracy as we know it is entering its twilight years,” he added.

Tillerson was recently replaced by Mike Pompeo following a rocky relationship with the president that saw him refuse to publically deny calling Trump a “moron.”