President Donald Trump railed against the “fake news” report NBC News published Wednesday about his relationship with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, calling the network “a disgrace to good reporting” in a tweet shortly before Tillerson refuted several of the report’s claims at a press conference.
NBC published its story, “Tillerson’s Fury at Trump Required an Intervention from Pence,” on Wednesday. Citing “senior administration officials who were aware of the situation at the time,” the outlet reported that Tillerson “was on the verge of resigning this past summer amid mounting policy disputes and clashes with the White House.” NBC alleged that Tillerson had “openly disparaged the president” and referred to Trump as a “moron” back in July.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Wednesday there was no truth to the "moron" comments.
"The secretary does not use that type of language," Nauert said, "The secretary did not use that type of language to speak about the president of the United States. He does not use that language to speak about anyone."
Trump took to Twitter to denounce the report, as well as other "fake news" reports circulating about him, his administration, and his Tuesday visit to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.
"Wow, so many Fake News stories today. No matter what I do or say, they will not write or speak truth. The Fake News Media is out of control!" the president began. "NBC news is
#FakeNews and more dishonest than even CNN. They are a disgrace to good reporting. No wonder their news ratings are way down!"
Shortly thereafter, Tillerson fielded a barrage of questions from the reporters at a press conference and refuted NBC's claims that he had considered resigning from the Trump administration before Vice President Mike Pence allegedly dissuaded him.
"There's never been a consideration in my mind," Tillerson said. "My commitment to the success of our president and our country is as strong as it was the day I accepted his offer to serve as secretary of state."
"There is much to be done, and we're just getting started," Tillerson added. "The vice president has never had to persuade me to remain as secretary of state because I have never considered leaving this post."
Although Tillerson neither confirmed nor denied whether or not he had dubbed Trump a "moron," the secretary of state explicitly denied the other major aspects of NBC's story.
"This is what I don't understand about Washington. I'm not from this place, but the places I come from, we don't deal with that petty nonsense," Tillerson said when asked about the alleged "moron" comment. "It is intended to do nothing but divide people. And I'm just not going to be part of this effort to divide this administration."
"The @NBCNews story has just been totally refuted by Sec. Tillerson and @VP Pence. It is
#FakeNews. They should issue an apology to AMERICA!" Trump added on Twitter.
The mainstream media's hype over the Tillerson report followed a pattern the left-leaning press has used often since Trump took office in January, of seeking to sow division within the administration. The media have targeted Tillerson, Pence, former chief strategist Steve Bannon, Chief of Staff John Kelly, and the president's son-in-law and daughter, senior adviser Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, among other officials.
Back in early August, Pence refuted a New York Times report claiming that he was gearing up for his own 2020 presidential bid. Pence said in a statement that the "disgraceful and offensive" report's allegations were "categorically false and represent just the latest attempt by the media to divide this administration."
(photo credit, homepage and article images: Gage Skidmore, Flickr)
Last Modified: October 4, 2017, 5:42 pm