Here's Rex Tillerson subtweeting Donald Trump for waging war on reality during a speech in Virginia today pic.twitter.com/WrUSX8tJjw— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 16, 2018
Former Secretary Of State Rex Tillerson, who was unceremoniously fired from his position earlier this year, recently addressed the graduating class at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington and didn’t hold back from taking what appeared to be veiled shots at his former boss, President Donald Trump.
“As I reflect upon the state of American democracy, I observe a growing crisis in ethics and integrity,” the former Exxon chief told the students. “If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as America citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.”
That was just the beginning.
Tillerson went on to seemingly criticize the president’s penchant for exaggerating, distorting facts, his frequent use of the term “fake news” and the tendency to make promises he simply can’t keep. However, he did it all without once mentioning Trump’s name – much like his rather pointed farewell speech.
“A responsibility of every American citizen to each other is to preserve and protect our freedom by recognizing what truth is and is not, what a fact is and is not,” the former secretary of state continued, “and to begin by holding ourselves accountable to truthfulness and demand our pursuit of America’s future be fact-based, not based on wishful thinking, not hoped-for outcomes made in shallow promises, but with a clear-eyed view of the facts as they are and guided by the truth that will set us free to seek solutions to our most daunting challenges.”
Tillerson, who reportedly called Trump a “moron” several months before his termination, had somewhat of a tumultuous relationship with the commander-in-chief. However, that doesn’t mean he is completely blameless, given his controversial history both as a prominent oil executive and a member of the Trump administration.
However, the main theme of Tillerson’s commencement speech appeared to be rooted in “ethics and integrity.”
“When we as a people, a free people, go wobbly on the truth, even on what may seem the most trivial of matters, we go wobbly on America,” he told the Class of 2018. “If we do not as Americans confront the crisis of ethics and integrity in our society and among our leaders in both the public and private sector, and regrettably at times into the nonprofit sector, then American democracy as we know it is entering its twilight years.”
Social media users had a lot to say about the address.
whoa Rex Tillerson has unleashed the awesome power of passive-aggressive commencement address subtweets to finally bring our errant masters to heel— Jason Linkins (@dceiver) May 16, 2018
Rex Tillerson’s speech sounds like a really passive aggressive Tumblr post about an ex and I’m here for it!— Marie Connor (@thistallawkgirl) May 16, 2018
Rex Tillerson to VMI Cadets:— Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) May 16, 2018
"If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no long grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.”
Well that's quite damning!!
PROPS to REX TILLERSON, for talking about, ethics and TRUTH! "Leaders who conceal the truth RISK FREEDOM."— Melonia ???? #TheResistance (@MeloniaSherban) May 16, 2018
He also said "if we are wobbly on truth, we are wobbly on America". Great commencement address. ??????????????????????????????????????????????????
Online users also pointed out the irony of Tillerson’s words.
Rex Tillerson, who misled Exxon investors on climate change & paid millions to professional climate science deniers before going to work for Donald Trump, is lecturing people on the importance of honesty ethics & integrity.— John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) May 16, 2018
When the former top executive or Exxon #RexTillerson has to warn the country about a "crisis in ethics" among US leaders..... hell is freezing over?— Pilar Marrero (@PilarMarrero) May 17, 2018
Rex Tillerson: "If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.”— Kanisha J (@KaniJJackson) May 16, 2018
In other words, he just called Trump a liar
Rex Tillerson's advice to college graduates: Don't be like me and work for a corrupt administration.— nicki ?? (@nickiknowsnada) May 16, 2018
I fucked up y'all. I mean, the Nazi thing was okay but once they started hiding shit from me that's where I drew the line. Ethics!
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Alex Wong, Getty Images