Rex Tillerson fired: Social media on Trump's 'reality TV White House'

BBC News
Getty Images Mr Tillerson's departure was jokingly dubbed #Rexit by some

The sudden ousting of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ignited social media, especially when it emerged that he only found out when President Donald Trump tweeted the news.

Journalists travelling home from Africa with Mr Tillerson said there was "zero indication" he knew his departure was imminent, and state department officials confirmed to US media that he had not spoken with Mr Trump before the announcement.

This is not the first Trump firing to be carried out in such public fashion. Former FBI chief James Comey reportedly learned he had lost his job from television news reports while speaking to a group of FBI employees in Los Angeles.

"You're fired!"

Given that the president became a household name hosting the US television show The Apprentice, some pointed out his apparent reluctance to employ the programme's famous catchphrase: "You're fired!".

And worth noting that Trump — who made his name declaring “You’re fired!” but is not actually able to fire people — had an underling convey the news to Tillerson instead of doing it himself.

End of Twitter post by @AshleyRParker

Trump became a household name with his signature “You’re fired!” TV line. But in two high-profile, real-life instances, Comey and now Tillerson, he didn’t even speak to the person being fired.

End of Twitter post by @bykowicz

Rex exed by text. Haiku a la Trump.

End of Twitter post by @mattfrei

Others drew comparisons to Mr Comey's departure.

Flashbacks. I was w/ Comey when he learned from CNN he was fired. We heard WH was furious he returned home on a gov aircraft. He was barred from FBI space (couldn’t pack his office) & from sending out a final message to the troops. Stay tuned for details on Sec. Tillerson’s exit.

End of Twitter post by @joshscampbell

Trump’s two most notorious firings, Comey and now Tillerson, occurred when both men were out of town. Courage.

End of Twitter post by @TimOBrien

Mr Tillerson is the latest in a long list of employees who have left the White House since Mr Trump came into power.

Some on social media jokily questioned whether anyone had told him he didn't have to fire someone weekly in his new job, away from The Apprentice.

Seriously though, what if Trump really thinks that at the end of each week someone has to be fired?

End of Twitter post by @samstein

Has anyone told Trump that he's not on the Apprentice any longer? He doesn't have to fire someone every week.

End of Twitter post by @nj11forchange

Rex Tillerson was fired as Secretary of State, so Mike Pompeo is one step closer to winning the worst season of The Apprentice.

End of Twitter post by @Pappiness

Other well-known White House departures also featured in social media jokes.

Former Press Secretary Sean Spicer made an unfortunate typo whilst paying tribute to Mr Tillerson - saying he had "severed" the country, not served.

Secretary Tillerson is a true patriot that has severed our nation well. Thank you for serving. Mike Pompeo will be an outstanding Secretary of State - the Senate should act swiftly to confirm him

End of Twitter post by @seanspicer

Many users replied, questioning if the mistake had been a Freudian slip by Mr Spicer.

Others pointed out the administration's high staff turnover resembled The Hunger Games - the work of fiction in which contestants compete in an annual televised fight to the death.

They should do a Hunger Games tribute in the sky every time someone is ousted from Trump's Administration.

End of Twitter post by @tgagemurphy

*Hunger Games cannon*

End of Twitter post by @jpbrammer

Other tweets mocked the outrage over the alleged social media firing.

US Sec of State Rex Tillerson found out he'd been fired on Twitter. I miss the dignity of the 90's when a man could pull into work & see every award, memento, photo, keepsake, of his entire career in a pile on the cement that his psycho boss threw off his 2nd floor office balcony

End of Twitter post by @TomArnold

A quick look at the goodbye party the State Department staff is throwing Rex Tillerson.

End of Twitter post by @LateNightSeth

Another suggested Mr Tillerson may follow the path of former Trump aide Omarosa Manigault Newman and go for a stint on Celebrity Big Brother.

Can’t wait for Rex Tillerson to pour his heart out to Countess Luann and Vanilla Ice on Celebrity Big Brother.

End of Twitter post by @jbarro

Some used the hashtag #Rexit to discuss the departure, and compared his "extinction" to his dinosaur namesake.

Tillerson OUT. Cabinet liquidation! Who will be the next to go?! #TheCelebrityAppresident #Rexit

End of Twitter post by @TheDailyShow

First the T. Rex, now the Rex T.

End of Twitter post 2 by @LateNightSeth

Rejected headline: “T-Rex found extinct in Washington: How Rex Tillerson got axed”

End of Twitter post by @SirajAHashmi