Rex Tillerson on Being Secretary of State: ‘I Didn’t Want This Job’

Chairman and CEO of US oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson, 64, seen in 2015, has extensive experience in international negotiations and a business relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in an interview published Tuesday that he did not want or seek the position and only took it because his wife convinced him to do it.

“I didn’t want this job. I didn’t seek this job,” Tillerson told IJR in an interview with the sole reporter allowed to accompany him on his recent Asia trip. “My wife told me I’m supposed to do this.”

Tillerson said he never met with President Trump before the election, but Trump asked to meet with him at Trump Tower after winning the presidential election to talk “about the world” and Tillerson’s experience as CEO of ExxonMobil.

“When he asked me at the end of that conversation to be secretary of state, I was stunned,” Tillerson shared.

When Tillerson told his wife about the offer, he said she responded, “I told you God’s not through with you.”

“I was supposed to retire in March, this month. I was going to go to the ranch to be with my grandkids,” Tillerson added.

Tillerson stated that he serves in the role “at the pleasure of the president.”

“My wife convinced me,” he said. “She was right. I’m supposed to do this.”

Tillerson was confirmed as secretary of state in February in a 56-43 Senate vote.

Reuters reported that Tillerson is skipping a NATO meeting next month to stay in the U.S. for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s meeting with the president at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.


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