Pence remained silent as a ‘wax museum guy’ as Trump hurled insults at military leaders: report

Pence remained silent as a ‘wax museum guy’ as Trump hurled insults at military leaders: report
Image via Shutterstock/

President Donald Trump shocked and infuriated his top officials with an insulting rant against the U.S. military — and others present for the Pentagon meeting were angry that Vice President Mike Pence remained silent.


The July 20, 2017, meeting has been the subject of numerous reports, but the new book, “A Very Stable Genius,” by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, offers the most detailed account yet.

According to others who were there, the president seemed bored and annoyed by a presentation given by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who wanted to bring Trump up to speed on some basic fundamentals of U.S. foreign policy.

Trump repeatedly interrupted to ask why allies weren’t paying the U.S. for protection, and he eventually flew off the rails and began insulting individual military leaders as “losers.”

“I wouldn’t go to war with you people,” Trump barked. “You’re a bunch of dopes and babies.”

The officers in the room were shocked, and staffers looked down uncomfortably at their papers, and Tillerson was visibly angry, according to those present.

The secretary of state looked to Mattis to speak up, but later told close aides that he realized the retired Marine Corps general was incapable of challenging his commander in chief.

That left Pence, but others noticed that he seemed to wish he could escape.

“He’s sitting there frozen like a statue,” said one attendee. “Why doesn’t he stop the president?”

Another person in the room described the vice president as “a wax museum guy.”

“A total deer in the headlights,” recalled a third attendee.

Finally, Tillerson spoke up.

“No, that’s just wrong,” the secretary of state said. “Mr. President, you’re totally wrong. None of that is true.”

“The men and women who put on a uniform don’t do it to become soldiers of fortune,” Tillerson added. “That’s not why they put on a uniform and go out and die … They do it to protect our freedom.”

Military officers were grateful for Tillerson’s defense, and the meeting ended a short time later when Trump walked out.

Afterward, Tillerson famously assessed the president’s intelligence outside the meeting.

“He’s a f*cking moron,” the secretary of state said.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.