Secretary of State Rex Tillerson bid farewell to the Department of State Thursday, urging the staff to hold onto their integrity in a “mean-spirit town.”
“This can be a very mean-spirited town,” the secretary of state said in his address, which did not mention President Donald Trump. “But, you don’t have to choose to participate in that. Each of us get to choose the person we want to be, and the way we want to be treated, and the way we will treat others. ” Tillerson encouraged the people in the department to “continue to treat each other with respect.”
“We’re all just human beings trying to do our part,” he added.
After months of speculation, Trump fired Tillerson last week and tapped CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace him.
“In these times, your continued diligence and devotion to the State Department’s mission has never been more necessary,” Tillerson said Thursday. “Never lose sight of your most valuable asset, the most valuable asset you possess — your personal integrity.”
Thursday’s address was the embattled secretary of state’s second heartfelt speech since he was fired. In his first address last Tuesday, Tillerson also failed to mention Trump, who announced his removal as head of the department via Twitter.
Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018
Trump said that while he respected Tillerson, the two often had a difference of opinion on key issues. “I think Rex will be much happier now,” the president suggested.
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