Rex Tillerson Tried to Teach Trump Immigration Law But President Wouldn’t Do the Reading

Rex Tillerson Tried to Teach Trump Immigration Law But President Wouldn’t Do the Reading

Much like President Schwarzenegger in The Simpsons Move, Donald Trump was elected to lead, not to read.

That is the takeaway from this report in The Daily Beast, which got its hands on transcripts of testimony that former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Tillerson told the committee that he tried to educate Trump on the ins and outs of immigration law, but the president refused to read briefing books and memos on the subject.

Tillerson states that this made him uncomfortable, as it meant Trump was making snap decisions without caring about whether they were legal. Which might not bother him, but Tillerson was the one charged with carrying out these illegal acts.

Not that Trump cared. As Tillerson said in his testimony:

“He didn’t know a lot of the legal aspects of the immigration laws or certainly other aspects of how the government operates within the congressional law-making system and oversight.”

Just what you want to hear about a person charged with upholding American laws and who is referred to as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.

Earlier, the Beast reported that Tillerson also told the committee that presidential son-in-law essentially hijacked American foreign policy, building a sort of shadow State Department to do end runs around the real thing headed by the Secretary of State:

Jared Kushner was privately working on strategic partnerships with foreign countries and meeting discreetly with world leaders outside the formal structures of the U.S. government, according to Tillerson…Because Kushner at times went around Tillerson and his staff, the State Department was not able to efficiently manage U.S. diplomacy.

By depriving himself of the expertise of State Department officials, Kushner left himself open to manipulation by foreign countries with objectives that upended years, if not decades, of American foreign policy.

For example, Kushner’s efforts meant Tillerson was blindsided when several Persian Gulf nations banded together to blockade Qatar in 2017. Kushner had apparently okayed the effort despite the fact that Qatar is a major military ally of the U.S.:

Tillerson told the panel that  he was forced to manage the fallout of the blockade, working overtime to ask all parties to refrain from escalating tensions.

It is probably low on the list, but this irresponsibility should be reason enough to impeach Donald Trump.

Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.