At a State Department press conference on Wednesday, Tillerson also denied reports that Vice President Mike Pence had to urge him to stay in the job and sidestepped questions about whether he called Trump a “moron”, reports CNN.
“The Vice President has never had to persuade me to remain as secretary of state because I have never considered leaving this post,” Tillerson said.
His remarks were part of an administration wide effort to dismiss an NBC article in which aides described Tillerson calling Trump a moron and his “fury” about the ways the President has undermined him publicly on several foreign policy initiatives.
Calling the report “erroneous”, Tillerson pointed the finger at “some who try to sow dissension” to undermine the President’s agenda.
“The places I come from, we don’t deal with that kind of petty nonsense… I’m just not going to be part of this effort to divide this administration.”
Tillerson expressed frustration that the reports of tension with Trump continue to surface and said he decided to speak publicly to “reaffirm my commitment to this role President Trump has asked me to serve and to dispel this notion that I have ever considered leaving”, CNN reported.
He said that he has been asked “repeatedly” if he was going to step down.
“For some reason it continues to be misreported… “There’s never been a consideration in my mind. I serve at the appointment of the President and I’m here as long as the president feels I can be useful to achieving his objectives.”
In response, the President publicly dismissed the NBC report as “fake news” and “totally made up” while on a trip to Las Vegas.
The President said he had “total confidence” in Tillerson.
Meanwhile, NBC has issued a statement saying that it stands by its reporting, which involved speaking to a dozen officials.