In the continuing discombobulated embarrassment that is the administration of President Donald Trump, a new report came out on Wednesday, Oct. 4 that claims that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a "moron" this summer. The report, which comes from several reporters at NBC News, says this happened after a meeting at the Pentagon on July 20. Around that time, rumors were spreading that Tillerson wanted to leave the Trump administration over growing frustrations with its leadership, so, yup, that timeline seems to add up. Hours after the report came out on Wednesday, Tillerson made a statement from the State Department reiterating his support for the Trump administration and refuting NBC's reporting that he considered leaving his post.
The "moron" name-calling reportedly came after this July 20 meeting at the Pentagon. The meeting was with members of Trump's national security team and Cabinet officials, per NBC. For some context, there was, as usual, a lot of weirdness going on about the White House around that time. I mean, let's put it this way: It was one day before Trump hired Anthony Scaramucci. Yeah, those days. Also around those days: Tillerson was having trouble making hires, the White House was undermining his foreign policy efforts, and Trump was going off on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a move which Tillerson called "unprofessional," according to CNN.
As all this was going on in July, rumors were spreading that Tillerson wanted to resign. According to NBC's Wednesday reporting, Vice President Mike Pence had to persuade him to not resign from his post as Secretary of State. In a statement made from the State Department on Wednesday at around 11 a.m. ET, Tillerson said things were "erroneously reported this morning," explaining that Pence never had to persuade him to stay "because I never considered leaving this post."
The Secretary of State went on to say that his "commitment to the success of our president and country is as strong as it was when I accepted his offer to serve as Secretary of State." Tillerson then spoke about the foreign policy efforts of the Trump administration.
When asked specifically about the reported use of the term "moron" to describe Trump, Tillerson said,
I'm not gonna deal with petty stuff like that; this is what I don't understand about Washington.
He explained that he's not a Washington D.C. regular, but where he's from, "we don't deal with that kind of petty nonsense." Tillerson said he believes this reports was just part of people trying to sow dissent within the administration.
The Secretary of State also spoke about some things he learned about Trump, saying,
He loves this country. He puts Americans and America first. He's smart; he demands results wherever he goes, and he holds those around him accountable.
So there you have it. Tillerson said in the statement on Wednesday that the president didn't direct him to make the statement, but the president also made it clear on social media that he wasn't particularly happy with the NBC report circulating.
Before making a visit to the victims of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history in Las Vegas, Nevada, President Trump took the time to tweet that "NBC news is #FakeNews and more dishonest than even CNN."
It is comforting, as always, to know where the president's priorities lie.
Naturally, this melodrama led to people on Twitter shouting off with their hottest takes.
Meanwhile, with Tillerson making this minor story a major story thanks to his statement on it, reporters are reporting more details they're gathering about the alleged "moron" incident. CNN is reporting that Trump knew Tillerson called him a "moron," while NBC is reporting that Tillerson actually called Trump a "f*cking moron."
Aren't there, like, real things going on in the world... ?