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

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

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:

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate