Ever since assuming his position as the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson has mostly made headlines for keeping an unusually low profile. He has been flying under the radar, didn’t even take Washington diplomatic press corps with him on his Asia tour and failed to stand up to President Donald Trump when the new administration proposed slashing the budget of his State Department by 31 percent.
The former Exxon Mobile CEO, who only accepted the prestigious job because his wife told him to, has remained somewhat distant from the tumultuous Trump administration, which is quite understandable to be honest.
In a recent report, The Washington Post claimed the reclusive secretary of state spent the first several weeks of his new job “isolated” and “walled off” from everyone else. He has his own private elevator that takes him to his seventh floor office, and people rarely see him anywhere else in the State Department building.
Moreover, he has not just been avoiding foreign diplomats and agency bureaucrats — by the looks of it, he may also be avoiding day-to-day human interaction.
“Most of his interactions are with an insular circle of political aides who are new to the State Department,” read the report. “Many career diplomats say they still have not met him, and some have been instructed not to speak to him directly — or even make eye contact.”
Yes, diplomats are specifically being told not to look Tillerson in the eye — an instruction that sounds both strange and unusually ominous.
The main question here, is what happens if someone accidentally makes eye contact with one of the most important players in the Trump administration?
The internet had a lot to say about this new nugget of information:
Career diplomats at the State Department when Rex Tillerson walks through the hallways... pic.twitter.com/o0qKkp2145— Matt Viser (@mviser) March 31, 2017
If you look Tillerson in the eye you turn into crude oil.— hugh acheson (@HughAcheson) March 31, 2017
Legend has it that any career Foreign Service Officer who looks directly into Rex Tillerson’s eyes will be turned to stone.— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) March 31, 2017
when you make eye contact with Rex Tillerson pic.twitter.com/z5ut9eRToO— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) March 31, 2017
Yes, it's possible that Tillerson is Medusa and the order not to look at him in the eyes is for the good of State Dept. employees. https://t.co/LVo1qs0stq— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) March 31, 2017
You know what happens when you make eye contact with a T-Rex https://t.co/pcUymCpBqP— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) March 31, 2017
Looks like J-Lo and Rex Tillerson have something in common after all. pic.twitter.com/pzkLNOcJsm— Kate Aronoff (@KateAronoff) March 31, 2017
@qhardy May be he would make an eye contact if his wife tells him to. That's how he agreed to do this job to begin with.— Chirag Mehta (@chirag_mehta) March 31, 2017
Every time someone makes eye contact with Rex Tillerson while Mike Pence eats with a woman, an angel gets their wings.— Michael Blackman (@MBlackman37) March 31, 2017
Tillerson may not have drawn as much criticism as some other members of the Trump administration, but that doesn’t mean his close ties to Russia excuse him from increasing scrutiny.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Khaled Elfiqi