Tillerson sidesteps ‘petty’ allegations he called Trump a ‘moron’
ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Wednesday reaffirmed his support for President Donald Trump and said he never thought about stepping down.
“I have never considered leaving this post,” Tillerson said.
He said claims that Vice President Mike Pence had to stop him from resigning was “erroneously reported.”
Tillerson said his commitment to Trump and the administration “is as strong as it was” on his first day in office and the president has “given voice to millions who felt completely abandoned to the political status quo.”
When asked directly about the NBC report that said Tillerson had called Trump a “moron” after a meeting with national security advisers in July, Tillerson did not confirm nor deny the claim.
“I’m not going to deal with petty stuff like that. This is what I don’t understand about Washington. I’m not from here,” Tillerson said.
He continued, “That kind of petty nonsense — it is intended to do nothing but divide people.”
NBC is standing by their reporting.
Trump has reportedly been disappointed with his secretary of state’s performance, and that Tillerson has been equally frustrated with the president.
On Oct. 1, Trump tweeted that “our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man… Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!”
Trump posted the tweet one day after Tillerson said the administration was speaking to North Korea “directly, through our own channels.”
Another time they publicly differed on diplomatic strategies was in June, when Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis said the U.S. and China were pushing ahead on applying diplomatic pressure on North Korea. At the time, Trump tweeted that while he appreciated China’s efforts, they have “not worked out.”
Rumors of Tillerson’s possible resignation in July were swatted down by the State Department. At the time, tensions between the White House and Tillerson were allegedly high over staffing at the State Department and Tillerson’s ability to make decisions about the nation’s foreign policy agency, senior administration officials told ABC News.
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