Attempting to pour cold water on reports of a rift between him and Donald Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters on Wednesday that he remains "fully committed to this moron's agenda". He did not call the president a moron. "I'm not going to deal with petty stuff like that", he said.
Mr Tillerson's stint as secretary of state has seen persistent rumours about his dismay at the President's policies, and NBC claimed he referred to Mr Trump as a "moron" during a Pentagon meeting in July. "Let me tell you what I have learned about this president whom I did not know before taking this office: He loves this country", he said.
The July talks with Pence had focused on easing tensions between Tillerson and The White House and how he should best position himself in Trump's cabinet.
Tillerson and Trump reportedly disagree on foreign policy stances-including those toward Iran and Qatar. "He's smart, he demands results wherever he goes ... accountability is a bedrock value of the president (that) I share".
Trump lashed out at NBC News on Twitter, both before and after Tillerson took the lectern, lambasting the report as "Fake News".
"The @NBCNews story has just been totally refuted by Sec".
During a press conference Wednesday morning, Secretary Tillerson forcefully hit back against the charge. "It is #FakeNews. They should issue an apology to AMERICA!" he added.
The US media has revealed on many occasions that there are differences between the President and the Secretary of State.
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