Tillerson Won’t Deny Calling Trump a “Moron”

But he contradicted reports that he considered quitting his post as secretary of state.

Tom Nicholson/ZUMA

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson refused to confirm or deny reports on Wednesday that he called President Donald Trump a “moron” but insisted that he was not on the verge of quitting his post amid tensions with Trump this summer.

In an unscheduled press conference on Wednesday, Tillerson said he had “never considered leaving this post.” He added, “President Trump and his administration will keep moving as one team doing great things for the Untied States of America, to make America great again.”

The announcement comes on the heels of an NBC report that Tillerson nearly resigned in July after growing increasingly frustrated with Trump over various policy disagreements. In one incident, Tillerson reportedly called Trump a “moron” in front of several Cabinet members and the president’s national security team—forcing Vice President Mike Pence to intervene to persuade Tillerson to remain in his post. 

“I’m not going to deal with petty stuff like that,” Tillerson said on Wednesday when asked specifically about the “moron” comment. “This is what I don’t understand about Washington. I’m not from this place.”

Moments before Tillerson’s press conference, Trump took to Twitter to address the NBC report:

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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