Tillerson Calls Washington a ‘Mean-Spirited Town’ in Goodbye Address

Monica Sanchez | March 22, 2018
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Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivered his farewell remarks at the Department of State on Thursday after being fired by President Trump last week.

A solemn Tillerson began by thanking everyone at the State Department for their devotion to the American people.

“I must thank each and every one of you for the role you play in enabling the State Department to lead our foreign policy efforts and conduct the steady diplomacy that is the work of the Department on behalf of the American people,” he said. “None of this is possible without your daily contributions.”

“I truly appreciate the opportunity to bid you a proper farewell,” said Tillerson.

“From the mail room to the seventh floor and all points in-between, and all of our folks abroad … everyone is important to the delivery of the mission of the State Department.”

He went on to call Washington, D.C., “a mean-spirited town,” telling his former colleagues that they “don’t have to choose to participate in that.”

“I’d like to ask that each of you undertake to ensure one act of kindness each day toward another person,” said Tillerson. “This can be a very mean spirited town…but you don’t have to choose to participate in that."

It was no secret that Tillerson and Trump often bumped heads on various issues including Trump's handling of North Korea, his efforts to end the Iran nuclear deal, and his decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement.

Tillerson reportedly knew of Trump’s plans to fire him but learned of the actual firing when Trump announced it on Twitter last Tuesday.

Possibly a veiled jab at Trump, he told State Department employees to "never lose sight of your most valuable asset, the most value able asset you possess: your personal integrity.”

“Not one of you was gifted it, you were born with it," said Tillerson.

Trump named former CIA Director Mike Pompeo as the new head of the State Department. He will need to be confirmed by the Senate as Tillerson’s successor.  

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