President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he let Rex Tillerson go as Secretary of State and nominated CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace him. And Russia conspiracy theorists are pretty sure this is evidence that Donald Trump is a traitor who colludes with Russia. Or something.
Here’s NBC’s senior political editor:
News comes *immediately* Tillerson said the the poisoning in the UK "clearly came from Russia" — while Trump has been silent on the poisoning https://t.co/0UL8gcqwsQ
— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) March 13, 2018
The paper of record suggests something nefarious:
Mike Pompeo has called for the Iran nuclear agreement to be ripped up, played down talk of Russia's interference in the election and suggested that regime change in North Korea would be a welcome development (from November) https://t.co/CG6soWJhsD
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 13, 2018
Here’s Fusion GPS’ mouthpiece at The Atlantic:
Interesting that Tillerson's ouster came one day after he very publicly broke with the official WH line and said the poisoning of Sergei Skripal “clearly” came from Russia. https://t.co/KfPy9b2iO6
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) March 13, 2018
NeverTrump conservative contributor at CNN:
Yesterday Sec. Tillerson said Russia was responsible for the UK poisoning. Today he is fired.
— Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter) March 13, 2018
Mother Jones DC bureau chief agrees:
Tillerson says Russia "clearly" involved in poisoning of former Russian spy in UK.
Trump fires Tillerson. #JustSaying
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) March 13, 2018
MSNBC security analyst:
No wonder Tillerson felt free to speak clearly yesterday about Russia and its involvement in the spy poisoning in London. He was already fired. https://t.co/K3injqxMam
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) March 13, 2018
WH saying Tillerson was informed Friday, but State Dept statement today seems to indicate he just found out today. Which *really* makes one wonder about the role of the Russia statement yesterday.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) March 13, 2018
Vanity Fair contributing editor:
By firing Tillerson one day after he publicly stated that Russia behind a WMD attack on British soil, we now have proof Trump is colluding with Putin. I don’t know if he did in the election. But he is doing it NOW in front of our eyes. He is Kremlin-owned.
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) March 13, 2018
And I’m sure Trump’s decision to fire Rex Tillerson had nothing to do with the fact someone in this regime finally spoke out on Russia – yesterday! https://t.co/bl4dgcROGp
— Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) March 13, 2018
NeverTrump’s chief social media activist:
I guess you could say Trump chose Putin over Tillerson.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) March 13, 2018
ABC’s chief foreign correspondent:
Tillerson stood by the Brits 100 pecent against Russia. That's why he got fired–because Trump won't.
— Terry Moran (@TerryMoran) March 13, 2018
The idea that Trump fired Tillerson because he was upset at Tillerson being too tough on Russia is delusional. Tillerson rather famously disagreed with Trump on Jerusalem, Qatar, North Korea, and Iran. Trump said earlier today, in fact, “When you look at the Iran deal, I think it’s terrible.” Tillerson, he said, thought “it was okay. I wanted to either break it or do something, and he felt a little bit differently. So we were not really thinking the same.”
Even Saturday Night Live is making fun of conspiracy theorists who still cling to a theory that Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election from its rightful heir Hillary Clinton. When you’ve lost Saturday Night Live during its resistance-isn’t-funny era, you’re in bad shape.
The idea that Trump fired Tillerson over Russia is also a complete narrative flip from where the media were when he was nominated. Then, the nomination of Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State was evidence for the Treasonous Collusion With Russia Conspiracy Theory!
Tillerson’s “close ties to Russia” led every news report at the time of his nomination, and was “eye-catching” and disconcerting. The Boston Globe told us it was a Putin-approved nomination. Politico said Tillerson was “dependent” on his “friendship” with Putin. Tillerson’s nomination “tested the limits” of Republican support for President-elect Trump on account of Tillerson’s too-close ties to Russia. Fox News’ Charles Krauthammer said Tillerson was a “problem” on the Russia issue because he “received an order of friendship from a guy who is not our friend.” One Washington Post columnist said Tillerson’s “most relevant qualification seems to be his long and cozy friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.” Another, Dana Millbank, said Tillerson’s foreign policy was “Russia First” and that Trump and Tillerson “are already doing exactly what Putin wants.”
The media and social media hive mind all emphasized and worried about Tillerson’s ties to Putin.
Here’s Mark Murray in 2016:
Tillerson/Exxon have clear Russia ties/interests. Striking this Sec of State news is coming less than 24hrs after bombshell Russia news
— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) December 10, 2016
Bill Kristol then:
"…concerns about Tillerson of those who believe we can’t afford to continue Obama’s policy of supineness to Putin”https://t.co/98bE8HsN3v
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) December 15, 2016
Amy Siskind then:
Further to our dysfunctional, and increasingly irrelevant, State Department under Putin friend Tillerson. https://t.co/gudF71tM5b
— Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) March 9, 2017
And various others:
If Tillerson is this awful in a confirmation hearing, how useful can he be as Secretary of State besides lining Exxon and Putin's pockets?
— Andrea Chalupa (@AndreaChalupa) January 11, 2017
The GOP Senate is duty bound to not confirm Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Fair or not, it will be perceived as a reward by Putin.
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) January 6, 2017
Rex Tillerson — Donald Trump's secretary of state nominee with ties to Putin — faces his confirmation hearing today https://t.co/UJKlifaKf9
— CNN (@CNN) January 11, 2017
Just last night I was told on national television that the general consensus in D.C. is that Russia is bad but that Trump and Russia didn’t collude. That a treasonous collusion narrative isn’t even “remotely” the general consensus. Someone might want to tell … everyone in the media who has been pushing it non-stop for more than a year no matter the facts on the ground.
As the media reaction to Tillerson’s nomination and firing show, we’re witnessing the Unified Theory Of Russia Collusion at work. If it’s true that the “general consensus” in D.C. is nothing remotely near the idea that Trump and Russia colluded to steal the 2016 election, people should stop pushing the theory. Better yet, if they buy into the theory — as so many of our supposed media elites obviously do — they should start to be more specific about the theory. And if they don’t, they should not nibble around the margins of the theory.
Until then, I’ll wait to hear how Mike Pompeo’s nomination is also evidence of Trump’s treasonous collusion with Russia, despite his unhelpful-to-Russia tenure at the CIA for the last year.