Rex and Me

I was never a particular fan of Rex Tillerson. I didn’t even know the guy. The only thing we had in common is that my husband and he both worked in the American oil industry. I didn’t think he was qualified to be secretary of state and I don’t think he accomplished very much, if anything at all.

But, nonetheless, he had a classy dignity about him. He  always seemed refined and polite, a gentleman. Articulate and cool. Sad that he didn’t retire from Exxon-Mobil and play golf in Arizona. Ambition is really a grievous fault (Shakespeare said it even before I did) so Rex accepted an offer to become a member of the Trump Cabinet.

That was obviously a major mistake. People can and do get blinded by ambition. Rex had reached the pinnacle of success at E-M with nary a downward slide. For sure he could plan for a retirement full of accolades. But I suppose ego and patriotism got in the way and he  became secretary of state, a decision which I’m sure he’ll regret until his dying day.

It’s not just that he was humiliated in front of the entire world.  We’ve all been humiliated somewhere, sometime.  But it’s usually a quiet insult or embarrassment that can quickly be erased from the memory bank.  Not so with Rex.  His humiliation was brutal and cruel.  He was humiliated by Twitter.  Well, not really by Twitter but by a twitterer.  Someone who shows the rest of us on a continual basis that he knows very little grammar and has atrocious spelling: Donald Trump, master of nothing.  Really.

To fire someone of esteem and class by crassly announcing it to the world via Twitter is a blow so low that it doesn’t really reflect on Rex.  It reflects on Donald.  What kind of a man is he?  Well, I suppose he’s the man we know he has always been.  He lives by one rule only.  In this universe I am the only one who matters. 

I’ve known the truth about Donald from the very beginning.  I’m not so smart.  Plenty of others could see him for what he is just as well as I.  And I’ve argued with many about this guy who would be president.  And who actually did become, incredibly, unbelievably, president.  My arguments have often been to no avail.  Many many of my friends and associates thought he’d be good for the Jews, for Israel, and for the world.  They refused to see that dealing with Donald is like dealing with the devil.  You will always lose in the end.  You will, in the end, be sorry that you bought a shyster’s (to be generous) line of goods.

I felt some redemption on the day Tillerson was fired.  I heard from two people with whom I am very close.  Two people who saw the Trump glass as half full.  People who thought maybe some of his characteristics were troublesome but others were going to benefit America, Israel, even the world.

And so, yesterday i was vindicated by both of them.  Independent of each other, they called to say that I was right.  That Trump was the guy I knew him to be.  They are, finally, terrified.  They finally realize that you cannot believe a word out of the presidential mouth. They finally understand that he is crass and tasteless and has no character.  They know what so many of us knew so long ago.  And they feel, as do I, impotent.  This was a pyrrhic victory.  I’d rather have been wrong.  Believe me!

The firing of Rex Tillerson is what made them ultimately understand.  Powerful people don’t behave like Trump.  Only people with very small buttons can set out to humiliate and tear down another human being in public.  Where was statesmanship? Where was kindness?  Where was sensitivity? Where was derech eretz? 

This president has shown us his true colors over and over. The remarkable turnover in his first 14 months of office displays a complete inability to choose personnel. His incompetence is shocking. The first job of an important executive is to surround himself with good, hardworking, intelligent colleagues. I know Rex Tillerson could have taught Donald Trump that important fact.

About the Author
Rosanne Skopp is a wife, mother of four, grandmother of fourteen, and great-grandmother of three. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and travels back and forth between homes in New Jersey and Israel. She is currently writing a family history.