Rex Tillerson Once Again Does Not Deny Calling President Trump a Moron

Oct 16, 2017, 00:26
Rex Tillerson Once Again Does Not Deny Calling President Trump a Moron

Donald Trump does not believe diplomatic efforts with North Korea are a waste of time and talks will continue "until the first bomb drops", Rex Tillerson has told CNN.

But Tillerson pushed back at claims that Trump has undermined his efforts, after outspoken Republican senator and Trump critic Bob Corker said the president was seeking to "castrate" his top diplomat.

"I think what North Korea should take away from this decision is that the United States will expect a very demanding agreement with North Korea", Tillerson said on CNN's State of the Union.

Tillerson gave a minute-long response explaining that his and President Trump's end goals are in alignment, while also describing Trump's communication methods as "unconventional".

People close to Trump say the president has grown increasingly dissatisfied with Tillerson, whom Trump views as holding a conventional view of America's role in the world and lacking star power. Trump has claimed Corker wanted to be his Secretary of State and said he was responsible for the "horrendous" Iran deal.

"You can not publicly castrate your own secretary of state without giving yourself that binary choice", Corker told the Washington Post in a phone interview Friday. "I don't work that way and I don't feel that way", he said.

In an interview Sunday, however, Tillerson refuted Corker's suggestion that the president is undermining him.

When asked at a State Department news conference earlier this month whether he'd ever called Trump a "moron", Tillerson did not respond directly. A State Department spokeswoman later denied that Tillerson said it.

"I checked", he told Tapper. The White House later said he was joking.

Corker has already been a target of Trump's Twitter tirades.

Tillerson has been painted by some "America First" forces as a publicity-shy, slow-moving "globalist" who did not grasp the nationalist platform of Trump's campaign.

Tensions between the two seemed to cool late last week, with Corker reportedly working to remodel the Iran deal in the White House's image.

Signs of tensions between Trump and Tillerson have raised questions among in foreign capitals about whether the secretary of state speaks for the administration. Lindsey Graham of SC said Sunday that was proof the relationship could work.

"I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man". "I'm not here to beat up on Bob (Corker)".

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