NBC News is out with a new report Wednesday morning that details the ever-souring relationship between President Donald Trump and his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
According to senior administration officials who spoke to NBC News, things got so bad between Tillerson and the White House that the Texan almost resigned over the summer.
In July, Tillerson reportedly trashed the president at a meeting at the Pentagon with members of Trump’s national security team and Cabinet officials, calling him a “moron.”
That comment came in response to Trump saying during a White House meeting a day before that he might fire his top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and comparing “the decision-making process on troop levels to the renovation of a high-end New York restaurant.”
“The tensions came to a head around the time President Donald Trump delivered a politicized speech in late July to the Boy Scouts of America, an organization Tillerson once led,” NBC reports. That speech happened just days after Tillerson’s “moron” meeting.
Tillerson was in Texas for his son’s wedding when Trump gave the speech, and reportedly threatened to not return to Washington — though he was convinced otherwise by Gen. John Kelly and Def. Sec. James Mattis.
Vice President Mike Pence also “counseled Tillerson, who is fourth in line to the presidency, on ways to ease tensions with Trump, and other top administration officials urged him to remain in the job at least until the end of the year, officials said.”
But, as NBC notes, it’s unclear whether those efforts will be effective. Just last weekend, “tensions spilled out into the open once again when the president seemed to publicly chide Tillerson on his handling of the crisis with North Korea.”
And that was not the first time Tillerson drew the president’s ire. In August, following Trump’s response to the Charlottesville neo-nazi attack, Tillerson told Fox News Sunday that “the president speaks for himself” — a comment that reportedly angered Trump.
Watch a segment from Morning Joe on the report above.
UPDATE 12:13 p.m. EST: In a surprise presser, Tillerson denied that he threatened to quit over the summer. In a statement, Pence also denied discussing potential resignation with Tillerson:
— ABC News (@ABC) October 4, 2017
Tillerson has not denied he called Trump a “moron.”
[image via screengrab]
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