When news broke Tuesday morning that Rex Tillerson’s salad days at the White House were over, that was only the tip of the iceberg — or, in this case, the romaine.
Fresh detail on the awkward and strained relationship between President Trump and the secretary of state he fired Tuesday in a surprise tweet includes the Wall Street Journal’s scoop that Trump once forced Tillerson to eat a wilted Caesar salad.
The moment came as the two men were dining in China’s Great Hall of the People in November amid Trump’s five-country tour of Asia.
After they and other U.S. officials were served wilted Caesar salads, Trump began to worry the untouched plates would offend the Chinese, people familiar with the matter told the Journal.
So Trump ordered his secretary of state: “Rex, eat the salad.”
Tillerson laughed off the remark, but the Journal noted that it served to highlight the recurring tensions between the two men.
The Journal‘s Michael Bender summed up: “When their Chinese hosts served wilted Caesar salad, Trump tried to save his own embarrassment by humiliating his secretary of state.”
The internet quickly seized on the anecdote, and embraced “Rex, eat the salad” as a “new catchphrase for the Trump era.”
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“I really hope ‘Rex, eat the salad’ does not get lost in the great pantheon of Trump presidency moments,” joked one Twitter user.
” ‘Rex, eat the salad’ is the new ‘It’s the economy, stupid,’ ” said another.
And one tweeter found personal inspiration in the quote, writing: ” ‘Rex, eat the salad’ is my new go-to phrase for taking on any undesirable job.”