Rex Tillerson, the U.S. secretary of state, affirmed to reporters that he had no plans to resign and has “never considered leaving” his post, despite conflicting reports that Vice President Mike Pence had to urge him to stay in the White House.
In addition to this, Tillerson described the story about friction between himself and President Donald Trump as “erroneous” and “petty nonsense.”
On Wednesday, a report surfaced which claimed that Rex Tillerson considered stepping down as secretary of state after a controversial political speech Trump made before the Boy Scouts, according to NPR.
The former ExxonMobil CEO also addressed the press at the State Department after an NBC News story accused him of calling Trump a “moron.” Rex failed to answer the question directly and did not deny calling President Trump a “moron.”
“I’m not going to deal with petty stuff like that.”
Tillerson added that the reports brought about by NBC News were simply “intended to divide.”
“The vice president has never had to persuade me to remain as Secretary of State because I have never considered leaving.”
It was reported that Tillerson threatened to resign earlier this year and was talked out of his decision by Vice President Mike Pence.
As previously mentioned, the vice president denied the claims in the NBC story. Jarrod Agen, Mike Pence’s spokesman, said that any news reports of Tillerson’s possible resignation are “categorically false.”
“At no time did he and the secretary ever discuss the prospect of the secretary’s resignation from the administration. Any reporting to the contrary is categorically false.”
Just a few minutes before Tillerson’s remarks, Trump tweeted that the NBC story was “fake news” and was “totally refuted” by both Rex Tillerson and Mike Pence. In addition to this, Trump adamantly called for the news outlet to apologize “to America.”
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 4, 2017
Tillerson seemed to make the statement in an effort to reaffirm his commitment to Trump and his agenda.
“I have never considered leaving this post… There’s never been a consideration in my mind to leave.”
Tillerson affirmed that his “commitment is as strong as it was the day I accepted his [Trump’s] offer as secretary of state.” Tillerson also gave praise to the President whom he called, “smart.”
“He loves his country…. He puts Americans and America first. He’s smart. He demands result wherever he goes, and he holds those around him accountable for whether they’ve done the job he’s asked them to do.”
Tillerson then went on to deny the details in the NBC account. Minutes before Tillerson’s announcement, Trump had disputed NBC’s account and called it a “disgrace to good reporting.”
On Sunday morning, Trump advised Tillerson to “save your energy.”
…Save your energy Rex, we'll do what has to be done!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 1, 2017
Tillerson praised Trump, adding, “Trump’s foreign-policy goals break the mold of what people traditionally think is achievable.”
Rex said that he will serve as long as President Donald Trump wants him in this role.
“I’m new in Washington… I have learned there are some who try to sew dissension to advance their own agenda by tearing others apart in an effort to undermine President Trump’s own agenda…. [He’s] doing great things for the United States of America to make America great again.”
While President Trump traveled to Las Vegas, Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, said that Tillerson did not directly address the “moron” comment because he was “not getting into the weeds.”
Sanders also told reporters that Trump maintains confidence in Tillerson. If Trump did not, she said, Tillerson would not be in his position.
[Featured Image by Win McNamee/Getty Images]