Rex Tillerson Warns of Leaders Who 'Conceal the Truth' in Commencement Speech

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took a veiled shot at President Donald Trump on Wednesday warning that a growing national crisis of ethics and integrity has put American democracy at risk

The Hill: "Tillerson warns military grads of 'growing crisis in ethics and integrity' " - "In a commencement address at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va., Tillerson said that Americans had a responsibility to confront leaders who mislead the public or promote 'realities that are no longer grounded in facts'".

Tillerson said the damage done by a lack of public trust in certain individuals and institutions at the top, disturbs the concept of a free society.

Could he mean me?

Tillerson, who was sacked in March by President Donald Trump, did not mention the president during his commencement speech at the Virginia Military Institute Wednesday - but warned of accepting "alternative realities" not "grounded in facts".

Tillerson did not mention his former boss by name during the 22-minute speech but it was hard not to read much of his address as a veiled and fiery critique of the man who unceremoniously fired him in March.

'We must never take these long-held allies for granted, ' he said, in apparent reference to Trump overruling the advice of his former top diplomat and others and withdrawing from some worldwide agreements, threatening import tariffs.

Two months after he was sacked by Trump, Tillerson took to the stage to talk to soon-to-be graduates of the Virginia Military Institute, warning them of the dangers of leaders "who hide the truth".

'But many here at home still have a way to go to fully embrace the global economy and to recognize that with these changes come both challenges and opportunities, ' he said.

It wasn't only Trump who doubted Tillerson's performance in his former role, however.

VMI announced Tillerson as the commencement speaker while he was still secretary of state.

That's just want Tillerson wanted - and yet more proof that revenge is a dish best served cold.

Tillerson told the graduates that integrity is "the most valuable asset you have" and advised them to "carefully consider the values and culture of the organizations in which you seek to work". His tenure as secretary of state was criticised for his perceived aloofness, his failure to fill rank-and-file jobs and his failure to maintain the alliances he touted in his speech.

Trump replaced Tillerson with former CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who is markedly more hawkish than Tillerson, particularly on Iran.

In October 2017, Tillerson denied that he had considered resigning over a news report that he had called the president a "moron" - but he did not deny calling Trump that.



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