It turns out Rex Tillerson of all people, the shadowy oil industry figure whose turn as Secretary of State has never made sense to anyone, is the one who finally said what we’ve all been thinking. Who knew the stuffed shirt oil baron was one of us all along? Well, he isn’t, really. But Donald Trump is so blatantly a moron that Tillerson doesn’t need to have much in common with us to see what we see. Now the floodgates against Trump have been sprung wide open.
Tillerson called Donald Trump a “moron” in front of other Trump administration officials all the way back in June. That fact is just now leaking out to the media, which is a whole other story. But it comes at a fascinating, and perhaps not coincidental, time. Although it feels like it was six months ago, it was actually just two weeks ago when NBA star LeBron James called Trump a “bum.” This was a big deal, one of the most popular athletes in America calling the President of the United States a bum. It was unprecedented. Yet remarkably, LeBron faced no real controversy for it.
Imagine if Magic Johnson had called Ronald Reagan a bum, or if Michael Jordan had called Bill Clinton a bum. Those would have been incredibly controversial moments, and the pushback against them would have been tremendous. But see, those were real Presidents, whether you liked them or not. In contrast, Donald Trump is objectively demented, objectively incompetent, objectively embarrassing, and – indeed – a moron. We don’t yet know whether Rex Tillerson will get away with this in terms of keeping his job. But already, the floodgates are open.
The day after LeBron got away with calling Trump a bum, NBA legend Michael Jordan – who has always loathed taking political stances – felt like it was safe to criticize Trump as well. Now we’re already seeing a similar chain reaction in the political realm. Hours after Tillerson’s “moron” news surfaced, Republican Senator Bob Corker said Trump wasn’t capable of making sound or coherent decisions.
Trump can’t fire Corker, of course. And because Corker is not running for reelection, his own conservative constituency can’t fire him either. So we’ll see if any other Republicans in the House or Senate manage to find their voices this week. But when it comes to everyone else in government, Tillerson just helped throw the floodgates open. If Trump’s own Secretary of State is calling him a moron, it gives others in government cover to call Trump even worse.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report