President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson both pushed back Wednesday against an NBC claiming the secretary of state called the president a “moron” during a Pentagon meeting and is considering leaving his post.
“NBC news is
#FakeNews and more dishonest than even CNN. They are a disgrace to good reporting,” Trump tweeted.
The president has frequently lashed out at “fake news” outlets following unfavorable reporting.
Tillerson later delivered an impromptu press conference in which he praised Trump. The secretary of state said that he is committed to the “success of our president” and praised Trump as “smart.”
He added that he spoke out to “dispel with the notion that I have ever considered leaving,” but declined to address the allegation that he called Trump a “moron,” instead telling reporters, “I’m not going to deal with petty stuff like that.”
The NBC article said Tillerson had to be counseled by Vice President Mike Pence in order to not leave his post, something the secretary of state specifically denied.
Following Tillerson’s remarks, Trump tweeted that the NBC story has been “totally refuted,” and that the outlet “should issue an apology to AMERICA!”
The Trump administration has had several key officials leave their roles so far including former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, former chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chief strategist Steve Bannon, and former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn.