Vladimir Putin believes that Rex Tillerson, U.S. Secretary of State, appears to have fallen in with “bad company”. The White House is not a right place for this skilled negotiator and gifted businessman.
Russian President made a sarcastic note, lamenting U.S. policy toward Russian Federation, Mr Putin said he regretted awarding Mr Tillerson the “Order of Friendship” in 2013 now that “he’s fallen in with the wrong company.”
In 2013, Rex Tillerson was awarded one of Russia’s highest honours for foreigners but his 2016 appointment as the US Secretary of State made Russian President conclude that good guy Rex “has fallen in with bad company and is going slightly in the other direction”.
The policy of sanctions is a way to nowhere, the Russians believe, so in this context, Vladimir Putin’s joke about Tillerson makes cruel sense, though it may not be particularly helpful in terms of easing tensions between the U.S. and Russia.
On Thursday, Mr Putin made the remarks in a fairly jocular manner, but they highlight how strained the relationship between the Trump administration and Russia has become in recent weeks.
Rex Tillerson was awarded the “Order of Friendship” while he was CEO of ExxonMobil, after he orchestrated deals with the state-owned Russian oil company Rosneft, one of the most powerful enterprises of modern Russia.