Tillerson says farewell to ‘mean-spirited’ D.C.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers his farewell address at the State Department on Thursday in Washington, D.C. President Trump announced last Tuesday that he had fired Secretary of State Tillerson and nominated CIA Director Mike Pompeo to succeed him. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI

March 23 (UPI) — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave his farewell speech Thursday, encouraging State Department employees to do “one act of kindness each day” in what he described as a “mean-spirited” Washington, D.C.

Tillerson, whose firing President Donald Trump announced on Twitter last week, will depart his Cabinet role at midnight March 31. The secretary didn’t mention his boss by name in his Thursday speech, nor did he March 13 when he spoke about his firing.

Tillerson said he hoped the State Department would continue its work with a focus on the safety of its employees and loved ones, accountability and personal integrity.

“I hope you will continue to treat each other with respect, regardless of the job title, the station in life, or your role, everyone is important to the State Department,” he said. “We’re all just human beings trying to do our part.

“In closing I’d like to ask that each of you undertake to ensure one act of kindness each day towards another person. This can be a very mean-spirited town. But you don’t have to choose to participate in that. Each of us get to choose the person we want to be, and the way we want to be treated, and the way we will treat others,” Tillerson added.

During his March 13 speech, Tillerson said he hoped for “an orderly and smooth transition” as he departs the State Department 13 months after the former oil executive assumed office.


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