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Tillerson Decries ‘Mean-Spirited’ D.C. in Farewell Address

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Soon-to-be-ex Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tried to project an air of civility in his departure from the Trump administration.

Barely a week after his unceremonious firing by President Donald Trump via Twitter, the reserved secretary gave a brief farewell address to his employees, decrying Washington as “mean-spirited” and urging employees to maintain their integrity and respect.

“This can be a very mean-spirited town,” Tillerson said his speech, a not-so-subtle jab at the president, though he didn’t mention Trump by name. “But you don’t have to choose to participate in that.”

The comments drew loud cheers and applause from State Department employees. But the warm farewell reception glossed over simmering employee resentment at how he managed the department, including controversial policies that will outlast his 14 month tenure.

Tillerson’s efforts to trim the ranks of what he considered a bloated State Department soured relations with his own agency and many lawmakers on the Hill. He pushed through hiring freezes, forced retirements,........

© Foreign Policy