Tillerson holds an unscheduled press conference in an effort to respond to the NBC article.
Although he claims he’s never considered resigning, he doesn’t deny that he called Trump a “moron,” nor does he really deny anything else in the NBC story, presumably because it’s all true. Rex’s excuse: “I don’t want to get involved in petty things.”
Says the guy whose boss spends his weekend berating NFL players on Twitter.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson insists he "never considered" resigning from Donald Trump's administration pic.twitter.com/XcWdujxF0b
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) October 4, 2017
Remember that time, back in July, when Donald Trump got up in front of thousands of Boy Scouts and made a complete fool of himself?
You know, that would be the speech during which he called Washington a “cesspool”, encouraged a crowd of children to boo a former President, and then essentially demanded their undying loyalty. If you don’t remember, that’s ok because there are plenty of videos including this one:
— ABC News (@ABC) July 24, 2017
Yeah. You’ll also recall that in the wake of that debacle, Chief Scout Executive for the Boy Scouts of America Michael Surbaugh actually had to apologize for the President’s behavior (you can read his full letter here).
Incredibly (assuming anything about this administration surprises you), that wouldn’t be the end of it. Trump would go on to lie to the Wall Street Journal about the speech, saying (and this is a quote), “I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them, and they were very thankful.” Senior sources within the Scouts organization would later say no such call ever took place.
Well according to NBC, that Boy Scouts speech was very nearly the last straw for Rex Tillerson, who just days before, called Trump “a moron” in a fit of rage:
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was on the verge of resigning this past summer amid mounting policy disputes and clashes with the White House, according to multiple senior administration officials who were aware of the situation at the time.
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, the officials said.
Just days earlier, Tillerson had openly disparaged the president, referring to him as a “moron,” after a July 20 meeting at the Pentagon with members of Trump’s national security team and Cabinet officials, according to three officials familiar with the incident.
Yes, Tillerson called Trump a “moron.” Here’s a bit more on that:
Tillerson stunned a handful of senior administration officials when he called the president a “moron” after a tense two-hour long meeting in a secure room at the Pentagon called “The Tank,” according to three officials who were present or briefed on the incident. The July 20 meeting came a day after a meeting in the White House Situation Room on Afghanistan policy where Trump rattled his national security advisers by suggesting he might fire the top U.S. commander of the war and comparing the decision-making process on troop levels to the renovation of a high-end New York restaurant, according to participants in the meeting.
Let that last bolded bit sink in and then once it has, read more color on the Boy Scouts issue:
Tillerson, who was in Texas for his son’s wedding in late July when Trump addressed the Boy Scouts, had threatened not to return to Washington, according to three people with direct knowledge of the threats. His discussions with retired Gen. John Kelly, who would soon be named Trump’s second chief of staff, and Defense Secretary James Mattis, helped initially to reassure him, four people with direct knowledge of the exchanges said.
In August, Trump was furious with Tillerson over his response to a question about the president’s handling of the racially charged and deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, administration officials said. Trump had said publicly that white nationalists and neo-Nazi sympathizers shared blame for violence with those who came out to protest them.
“The president speaks for himself,” Tillerson said at the time, when asked on “Fox News Sunday” about Trump’s comments.
Remember that? Here’s the video:
Right. As we put it at the time, “Tillerson had the opportunity to give the commander in chief a vote of confidence in an interview with Fox’s Chris Wallace and instead gave Trump this vote of … something?…”
“Something,” but definitely not confidence. And it certainly seemed to suggest that Tillerson wanted no part of Trump’s apparent bigotry.
Over the weekend, Trump undermined his Secretary of State yet again. Recall that just one day after after Tillerson told reporters in Beijing that the U.S. is in direct contact with Pyongyang via “a couple, three channels” potentially opening the door for a peaceful resolution, Trump not only lashed out at Kim with the same derisive nickname, he even went so far as to directly reference Tillerson’s remarks:
Forgive me, but it almost seems like he wants this to escalate. That is: why would you say that? And even if we want to go ahead and accept that another “Little Rocket Man” tweet was inevitable, why in God’s name would you directly reference Tillerson’s apparent efforts to negotiate, in the process leaving no doubt about what it is you’re referring to?
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) October 1, 2017
You’ve got to know Tillerson is aghast, despite Trump’s bungling attempt to compliment him.
Ultimately we’re sticking with our long-standing assertion that Tillerson will ultimately resign in disgust and be replaced by Nikki Haley, who has been the nation’s de facto top diplomat for months anyway.