WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE! Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, had to make a statement on Wednesday in response to an NBC News story that he had called the president a “moron” and needed to be persuaded by Vice President Pence to stay in his current position, given the continual daily humiliations to which he is subjected and the president’s tendency to undercut his diplomatic efforts.
The statement went approximately as follows.
Tillerson: Hello. I am making this statement of my own free will. (blinks rapidly) (keeps blinking) I AM NOT IN PAIN OR ANY SORT OF TROUBLE. I never even thought of leaving, and not because if I had thought it, Donald Trump — a good, smart man, the best of men — would have known at once and sent me to the cornfield.
That’s not a code word that I say to beg someone to come rescue me from this nightmare of my own creation. It’s just fun to say into a camera.
How could I leave Donald Trump, whose agenda makes total sense and which I fully support? It has a wisdom I don’t see because my mind is too small and foolish. Donald is the light of the world. He is wearing lots of clothes and they are the best, most imperial clothes, and I just wish I could see them, and the five fingers he is holding up, I know there are five, and that they are large, and I just wish that I could —
(starts to sob faintly) I am just crying because I love Donald Trump so much. If you even knew his qualifications, you too would recommend him without qualifications. I am not saying that he is without qualifications. Oh god please don’t hurt the oil. It is not that he has my dearest oil and is threatening to put it somewhere that I will never see it again.
The reports that Vice President Pence had to physically stop me from resigning are greatly exaggerated. Who would need to persuade me to stay in a job that I clearly enjoy so much and am so skilled at?
It is not true that there were several weeks in July when the vice president had to call me every night and give me pep talks, murmuring, “Champ, you got this. Keep chugging, big guy. Just one day at a time. God has a plan, my dude. You’re in it to win it, Biff. You’re my man, big bear. You’re a team player, buddy. Don’t quit on me now, champ. Just take it one day at a time,” in a low soothing tone until I stopped sobbing and fell asleep with the phone clutched beneath my chin.
It is equally untrue that when I vanished on what I unconvincingly claimed was a vacation, Mike Pence had to come find me hiding in an oil rig and I wept and clung to the derrick and sobbed, “Please, Mike, please, don’t make me go back there. I don’t want to go back.”
Again, obviously, I love this job. Being the last secretary of state ever is a great honor and I am working to shut down this department with the dignity that it deserves. Is it draining having to depress all the career employees until they finally depart by continually displaying my impotence and their redundancy? You bet. But it’s what I signed up for, I think. I hope. Well, it’s what I’ve been doing.
Now a few words about Donald Trump and how wonderful he is, a totally normal thing for a member of the Cabinet to have to come out and say. This is — again — a totally normal thing and not something that only a moron would want.
Something you may not know about Donald Trump, because he has been working hard to keep it a secret from the world, is that he is a very smart man who loves this country very much. He is a man with great ideas. He wants results and holds people accountable. Most people don’t know any of these things about him. But I do. I believe them. I swear I believe them. Please don’t hurt th–
Look, I’m not from this place. I am but a simple man with simple ways. Where I come from, we do not know how this swamp, this Washington, as you call it, functions. I don’t understand this place one whit, as I hope all my actions have made clear. I don’t understand anything. I am broken, like my department, and I must be destroyed before I can be made whole, also like my department.
Only Donald understands. Only Donald is perfect and real and true. He is my everything, the only truth in a broken world. He is not a moron. He is so, so good.
Did I call him a moron? Don’t be ridiculous. Would I have called him a moron if I wanted to keep this job? And obviously I want to keep this job. Look at me.