A major fundraiser for President Donald Trump with potent ties to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been lobbying the president to fire Rex Tillerson, the BBC is reporting.
Leaked emails obtained by BBC show businessman Elliott Broidy met with Trump in October lobbying for Tillerson’s dismissal over his lack of support in the Arab region’s effort against Qatar.
Emails also show Broidy made disparaging remarks about Tillerson, calling him “weak” and a “tower of Jello,” BBC reported.
A spokesman for Broidy told the BBC that Broidy, chief of defense company Circinus, did not say those things, saying “registered and unregistered” agents of Qatar hacked his emails.
UAE and several other countries in the region broke ties with Qatar last year over its alleged support of terrorism, a charge the country denied.
However, U.S. intelligence found the UAE orchestrated hacking of Qatar to post false quotes attributed to Qatar’s emir to frame him as friendly to terrorists, according to The Washington Post.
Tillerson has called for an easement of the actions against Qatar.
President Trump has applauded Qatar’s stepped up effort to battle terrorism, and late in February he spoke with Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
The two discussed “regional developments and opportunities to further enhance the American-Qatari partnership on a range of security and economic issues,” according to a White House statement.
“The president thanked the emir for his leadership in highlighting ways all Gulf Cooperation Council states can better counter Iranian destabilizing activities and defeat terrorists and extremists,” the statement said.
In the hacked emails, Broidy said he advised Trump that Tillerson was “performing poorly and should be fired at a politically convenient time,” BBC reported.
Broidy send the emails to George Nader, a Lebanese-American and an adviser to the UAE leadership. Nader is reportedly under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller for trying to buy influence in the Trump White House.
Broidy has hundreds of millions worth of contracts in the UAE, BBC reports.