U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday blasted an NBC News report which claimed he considered resigning over a rift with President Donald Trump, affirming his “commitment” to the administration and denying that he ever considered resigning.
The NBC News report had said Tillerson considered resigning over the summer amid disagreements with the White House.
“There’s never been a consideration in my mind,” Tillerson told reporters, according to comments quoted by Fox News.
The report said Tillerson even called Trump a “moron” this summer, after a meeting at the Pentagon with members of Trump’s national security team and Cabinet officials. Vice President Mike Pence reportedly got involved at the time to discuss ways to ease tensions.
Tillerson said on Wednesday he would not address “petty” stuff, but said of the president, “He loves this country. He puts Americans and America first. He’s smart.”
Trump, who was en route to Las Vegas to meet with survivors of Sunday’s massacre, also hit back at NBC News over the report.
“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!” Trump tweeted.
Tillerson also denied that Pence ever had to get involved to convince him to stay.
“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," the Secretary of State said, according to Fox News. “The vice president has never had to persuade me to remain as secretary of state because I have never considered leaving this post.”
The White House did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment on the relationship between Tillerson and Trump.
The NBC report was published days after Trump appeared to undermine Tillerson by saying the Secretary of State was "wasting his time" by maintaining contacts with the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
Trump subsequently vowed that he would not fail as his predecessors did in trying to stop North Korea’s nuclear program.
Those comments came after Tillerson told reporters that he was "probing" whether the North is ready for talks on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
This revelation appeared to have triggered Trump's tweeted response, and on Monday the White House said that "now is not the time" to talk with North Korea, and that the only exception would be talks aimed at bringing home Americans detained by the isolated country.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Sukkot in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)