While Rex Tillerson was secretary of state, his State Department was regularly plagued with rumors of his impending departure.
And Tillerson reportedly knew who was behind the whispers, according to an excerpt from Ronan Farrow’s new book “War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence” published in The New Yorker Thursday.
According to several people who spoke with Farrow, who heard Tillerson speak about the matter behind closed doors, he “knew” it was Jared Kushner, one of the President’s closest advisers and son-in-law.
During an interview with Tillerson in January, Farrow asked the then-secretary of state about the rumors of his demise. Tillerson responded by asking Farrow how many people there are working in the White House who “matter,” who “might have an interest in whether I stay or leave, there’s about one hundred and sixty of them,” Tillerson reportedly said.
“I know who it is. I know who it is. And they know I know,” he told Farrow.
According to a State Department official who spoke with Farrow, the department suspected that Kushner was responsible for planting negative press items that undermined some of Tillerson’s moves. A White House official laid the blame for the feud between the two on Tillerson, who would “never” call Kushner back or respond to his requests for meetings.
“Here’s what I saw: a President who surprised [Kushner] on the spot and said, ‘You’re doing Mideast peace,’ after the campaign. A guy who tried to brief Rex every single week but could never even get a call back or a meeting,” the White House officials told Farrow. “And it wasn’t just Jared. It was many people across the government, including fellow Cabinet members, who complained.”
Read the full excerpt published in The New Yorker here.