A Washington Post article published Thursday revealed a curious tidbit about President Donald Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.
In the piece, penned by reporters Anne Hearan and Carol Morello, Tillerson is described as spending his first several weeks at the State Department “isolated,” and “walled off” from the agency’s bureaucrats.
According to the report, his “distant management style has created growing bewilderment among foreign officials” and “threatens to undermine the power and reach of the State Department.”
But the impact of Tillerson’s reclusiveness does not only threaten the State Department’s interactions with foreign diplomats, it also reportedly threatens basic, day-to-day, human interactions expected of anyone in a typical workplace environment.
Per the Post: “Many career diplomats say they still have not met him, and some have been instructed not to speak to him directly — or even make eye contact.”
Tillerson previously riled feathers when he unilaterally decided he didn’t really have much of a “need” for media, as though his disinterest in entertaining journalists is the only pertinent element in this whole First Amendment thing. And—as expected—the news that the disposition of the nation’s top diplomat precludes eye contact and other forms of communication set Twitter ablaze:
If you look Tillerson in the eye you turn into crude oil.
— hugh acheson (@HughAcheson) March 31, 2017
Do not look at Happy Fun Ball or Rex Tillerson https://t.co/MWl4wvzhVG
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) March 31, 2017
Career diplomats at the State Department when Rex Tillerson walks through the hallways… pic.twitter.com/o0qKkp2145
— Matt Viser (@mviser) March 31, 2017
when you make eye contact with Rex Tillerson pic.twitter.com/z5ut9eRToO
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) March 31, 2017
Yes, it’s possible that Tillerson is Medusa and the order not to look at him in the eyes is for the good of State Dept. employees. https://t.co/LVo1qs0stq
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) March 31, 2017
Legend has it that any career Foreign Service Officer who looks directly into Rex Tillerson’s eyes will be turned to stone.
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) March 31, 2017
You know what happens when you make eye contact with a T-Rex https://t.co/pcUymCpBqP
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) March 31, 2017
Looks like J-Lo and Rex Tillerson have something in common after all. pic.twitter.com/pzkLNOcJsm
— Kate Aronoff (@KateAronoff) March 31, 2017
The deconstruction of the administrative state at the State Department: some employees told not to look at Tillersonhttps://t.co/zvirCbKixw
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) March 31, 2017
— Andrew Katz (@katz) March 31, 2017
Rule #2: Never feed Tillerson after midnight or allow him to touch water. https://t.co/F6Uf6SaosL
— Dell Cameron (@dellcam) March 31, 2017
In Rex Tillerson’s defense, this is also how I ran the internship program at GQ. https://t.co/bOcYvgfz6f
— Mark Byrne (@markwby) March 31, 2017
— Bradford Pearson (@BradfordPearson) March 31, 2017
Tillerson is Bizarro World Diplomat https://t.co/guT3szinFw
— Clara Jeffery (@ClaraJeffery) March 31, 2017
Rex Tillerson has implemented the Mariah no-eye-contact rule with career diplomats at State: https://t.co/W9DRmzw33c
— Annie Lowrey (@AnnieLowrey) March 31, 2017
@qhardy May be he would make an eye contact if his wife tells him to. That’s how he agreed to do this job to begin with.
— Chirag Mehta (@chirag_mehta) March 31, 2017