Rex Tillerson grovels to "smart" Donald Trump, refuses to deny calling president "moron"

Tillerson, under fire after a story emerged about him blasting his boss, praises the president

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published October 4, 2017 11:17AM (EDT)

Rex Tillerson (Getty/Jim Watson)
Rex Tillerson (Getty/Jim Watson)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attempted to put himself in President Donald Trump's good graces Wednesday — but did not deny having once referred to the president as a "moron."

"President Trump's America First agenda has given voice to millions who felt completely abandoned by the status quo and who felt their interest came second to other countries," Tillerson told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.

Tillerson claimed that Trump's policies "break the mold," citing as examples America's policies toward North Korea, stopping Islamist terrorism, compelling NATO members to pay their way and helping America in the Afghanistan War.

"There is much to be done, and we're just getting started," Tillerson declared.

Tillerson told reporters that he refused to address "petty stuff," like reports that he had called his boss — the leader of the free world — a "moron." Tillerson instead emphatically denied reports that he had ever spoken with Vice President Mike Pence about resigning, claiming that he had never even thought of resigning.

Tillerson also painted his boss in glowing terms.

"He loves his country. He puts Americans and America first. He's smart, he demands results wherever he goes and he holds those around him accountable for whether they've done the job he's asked them to do," Tillerson said.

In addition to it being reported that Tillerson called Trump a "moron," the news stories also claimed that Tillerson had talked with Vice President Mike Pence about whether United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley was helpful to the administration.

In addition to his potential issues with Trump, Tillerson has also been controversial for his perceived inadequacies as Secretary of State. He has left the State Department understaffed and allowing the department to lose its clout within America's foreign policymaking apparatus.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Donald Trump Rex Tillerson