WASHINGTON, D.C. — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reaffirmed his commitment to the Trump administration after reports indicated he’d threatened to leave his post.
Tillerson delivered the announcement from the State Department Wednesday, saying reports that he’d threatened to leave were untrue. He wouldn’t address a report that said he’d referred to President Trump as a “moron” during a Pentagon meeting in July, saying only that the report was “petty nonsense.” He did not deny that the incident took place.
The report originated from NBC, which cited three anonymous officials familiar with the situation.
The report said Tillerson spoke with Vice President Mike Pence in order to ease the tension, which Tillerson denied. He called the suggestion that Pence had to convince him to stay “erroneous.”
Tensions between the two appeared high over the weekend when the president tweeted that Tillerson was “wasting his time” by trying to negotiate with North Korea.
Tillerson said Wednesday that he admired the president, who “loves his country” and “puts Americans first.” He said the president holds people in his administration accountable.
“When I wake up in the morning, my first thought is about the safety of our citizens at home and abroad,” Tillerson said. “There’s no more important responsibility I carry with me than assuring that Americans are safe.”
He said the administration would keep moving forward as “one team to keep making America great again.” He said he delivered the statement Wednesday to dispel rumors that he wanted to leave his position.