Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday he has never considered resigning his job, calling an NBC News report erroneous.
According to the NBC report Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called President Donald Trump a “moron” this summer, detailing the possibility of tensions between the president and his chief diplomat.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson makes a statement at the State Department on Wednesday. He denied wanting to quite secretary of state position, but did not deny calling the president a moron. (Photo Credit: NY Daily News)
Citing unnamed senior administration officials, Tillerson made the comment about Trump after a meeting at the Pentagon with top national security officials and Cabinet members —only four days before the president gave an inappropriately political speech to the Boy Scouts of America. Trump’s speech reportedly led Tillerson to consider resigning from the administration.
To quell the rumors and perhaps ease tensions between Tillerson and Trump, the Secretary of State took to the airwaves with a statement to counter the NBC News report Wednesday morning, which alleged that the Secretary of State considered resigning after the meeting, but persuaded to stay by Vice President Pence.
While it’s unclear whether Pence was aware of the incident, sources say he counseled Tillerson, supposedly giving him tips to ease tensions Trump.
Countering the NBC News report, Tillerson on Wednesday morning said Pence “never had to persuade” him to keep his job.
“My commitment to the president is strong,” Tillerson said, and he called the president a “smart” man who “demands results.”
As the nation’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Tillerson speaks on behalf of the president and the country. However, on multiple occasions, Trump and Tillerson have not always been on the same page.
In June, Tillerson defended US ally Qatar during its diplomatic spat with Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries. Within the same hour later, Trump undermined Tillerson statement.
“I’ve decided, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, our great generals, and military people, the time has come to call on Qatar to end its terrorism funding,” Trump said at a press conference alongside the president of Romania.
On September 20, Secretary of State Tillerson told reporters that the president was “still considering” whether the U.S. would remain in the Iran nuclear deal. A few hours earlier, Trump told reporters he had made up his mind.
The Secretary of State traveled to China late September to begin talks with North Korea, once again, Trump publicly undermined his efforts. “I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” Trump tweeted on October 1, an insult meant for Kim Jong Un. “Save your energy Rex,” he added in a following tweet, “we’ll do what has to be done!”
LeNora Millen 10-04-17