Ex-State Dept. diplomat pushed out by Trump urges Tillerson to spill the beans on the president
Ex-State Dept. diplomat Thomas Countryman (left) and newly-ousted Sec. of State Rex Tillerson (right). Images via screengrab.

A career State Department diplomat fired by President Donald Trump early in his administration had words of encouragement and advice for newly-ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday afternoon.


Thomas Countryman, who learned he was fired by the president in the first week of his administration while en route to Rome for a meeting on nuclear weapons, told a CNN panel led by host Brooke Baldwin that he could understand what the secretary of state might be going through.

"I feel empathy for Rex Tillerson," Countryman said. "It's no fun to get fired — but it can be liberating."

"I hope that that's what he feels tomorrow," the ex-diplomat said in the moments after Tillerson's press conference responding to his ouster.

Though Countryman said he disagreed with Tillerson "for not defending adequately the budget and the personnel of the State Department," he respected him and the role he played — particularly as "somebody who was a restraining influence on the worst instincts of a president who is — I don't know if the right word is unchained or unhinged."

"What concerns me now is that there will not be that kind of influence from Secretary [Mike] Pompeo," he concluded.

Watch below, via CNN: