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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Saturday, October 21, 2017

State Department spokeswoman strongly denies reported that Secretary of State had called Trump a "moron"

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert last Wednesday strongly denied that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had called President Donald Trump a "moron," as reported by NBC News earlier.

"The secretary does not use that type of language," Nauert said during a press briefing, according to The Hill.

"The secretary did not use that type of language to speak about the president of the United States. He does not use that language to speak about anyone," she added.

She also said that Tillerson had reassured her that he and the president were "all good," despite reports that he was considering leaving the State Department amid growing tensions with Trump.

The NBC News report claimed Tillerson considered resigning over the summer amid disagreements with the White House.

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.

In a news conference earlier on Wednesday, Tillerson addressed the report, affirming his “commitment” to the administration and denying that he ever considered resigning.

Asked about the claim that he called Trump a “moron”, Tillerson replied that 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.

Pence 's office denied the story as well. Jarrod Agen, Pence's top spokesman, said in a statement provided to the Washington Examiner that the Vice President and Tillerson have never discussed resignation.

Agen described the NBC News story about Pence's intervention as "categorically false."

"The Vice President values the service of the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and is grateful for his strong affirmation of President Trump's America First foreign policy agenda," Agen said in his statement.

"The Vice President can also confirm that, as the Secretary of State asserted, at no time did he and the Secretary discuss the prospect of resignation. Any reporting to the contrary is categorically false," he added.

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.

By: A7 Staff
(INN)