Earlier this morning, NBC News released a report about just how tense things have gotten between Donald Trump and his Secretary Of State Rex Tillerson. The relationship between the two apparently soured after Trump tried to turn a Boy Scouts Jamboree into a Hitler youth rally this summer, presumably because Tillerson, an Eagle Scout and former national president of the Boy Scouts Of America, wasn’t too keen on his boss politicizing the volunteer organization.
Trump has also gone out of his way to undermine Tillerson’s handling of foreign affairs, i.e., his job, criticizing the Secretary Of State for attempting diplomacy with North Korea instead of resorting to name calling.
This reportedly pushed Tillerson to the point of wanting to resign, according to the White House officials NBC News spoke with for the piece. Vice President Mike Pence was even called on to calm Tillerson down, especially after the Secretary Of State called Trump a “moron” following a meeting at the Pentagon in July.
But just as Tillerson was getting virtual fist bumps for speaking his mind, he’s now refuting the NBC News report. The press-averse Tillerson even held a press conference to clarify that Pence “has never had to persuade me to remain a Secretary of State because I have never considered leaving this post.” The Cabinet member went on, declaring that his “commitment to the president and this country is as strong as ever.”
Having put one matter to bed, Tillerson then began to talk up Trump’s love of America. “Let me tell you what I learned about this president I did not know before taking office,” Tillerson told reporters. “He loves this country and puts America and Americans first.” He even said Trump was “smart” and results oriented, seemingly reading from the president’s résumé. But his praise of Trump’s intelligence didn’t make the media forget about the “moron” comment. When asked point blank if he’d called the president a “moron,” Tillerson didn’t flatly deny it, saying instead “I am not going to deal with petty stuff. This is what I do not understand about Washington. But places where I come from we don’t deal with that petty nonsense.”
Tillerson worked in tandem with Trump to combat reports of dissension among the few left in the White House ranks, with the president tweeting about the press conference using the old “#FakeNews” hashtag and calling for an apology—not for himself, but to America.