Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned on Wednesday that an erosion of ethics and integrity poses a threat to American democracy.
In a commencement speech at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, Tillerson lamented leaders who “seek to conceal the truth” and increasing politicization among Americans, resulting in what he believes are “alternative realities.” Some reporters interpreted Tillerson’s comments as veiled jabs at his former boss President Donald Trump.
“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 American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom,” the former top diplomat told the Institute’s outgoing students.
“When we as people, a free people, go wobbly on the truth – even on what may seem the most trivial of matters – we go wobbly on America,” Tillerson said.
“If we do not as Americans confront the crisis of ethics and integrity in our society and among our leaders in both public and private sector – and regrettably at times even the nonprofit sector – then American democracy as we know it is entering its twilight years,” Tillerson added.
Tillerson, who was fired in March, had an uneasy relationship with President Trump.
In October, it was reported that he branded Trump a “moron” to State Department officials.