Secretary of State Rex Tillerson denounced a report by NBC News of his supposed disaffection with President Donald Trump. In a previously unscheduled press conference, Tillerson reaffirmed on Wednesday “commitment” to the administration and denying that he had ever considered resigning. “There’s never been a consideration in my mind,” Tillerson told reporters. He said, "I have never considered leaving this post."

The NBC News report said Tillerson considered resigning during the summer months because of disagreements over policy. According to NBC, Tillerson referred to Trump as a “moron” after a meeting at the Defense department with members of the Cabinet and Trump’s national security team. The report said that Vice President Mike Pence became involved then as a mediator to ease tensions.

On Wednesday, Tillerson said he would not address “petty” stuff, but said of Trump, “He loves this country. He puts Americans and America first. He’s smart.”

While flying to Las Vegas to meet with survivors and first responders of Sunday’s mass shooting, Trump tweeted his disgust. “NBC news is #FakeNews and more dishonest than even CNN. They are a disgrace to good reporting. No wonder their news ratings are way down!” 

Tillerson denied that the vice-president had sought to convince him to remain in office. “My commitment to the success of our president and our country is as strong as it was the day I accepted his offer to serve as secretary of state. … There is much to be done, and we’re just getting started," Tillerson said. “The vice president has never had to persuade me to remain as secretary of state because I have never considered leaving this post.”

According to Fox News, Pence and Tillerson’s “counseling” discussion were focused on getting the secretary of state back on the same page as the president.

The network said that Pence and Trump are as one and that the vice-president constantly discusses the president’s expectations with each of the members of the Cabinet to ensure uniformity. 

State Department spokesman R.C. Hammond denied that Tillerson had insulted the president. He denied that he considered resigning over the summer and denied  that he had ever called Trump a “moron.”

While Trump has been largely quiet about his relationship with Tillerson, and the latter’s success as America’s top diplomat, over the Sept. 30 - Oct. 1 weekend, Trump expected what some understood as discomfiture over negotiating with North Korea. “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 Sunday. “Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!”



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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