On Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump fired back at a report from NBC which claimed, based on unnamed sources, that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson openly called President Donald Trump a "moron" during a meeting with top officials and threatened to resign from his post. According to NBC, the outburst came after Trump gave an address to the Boy Scouts, which the media and others criticized as "too political."
"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!" scolded Trump, via Twitter.
"The [NBC News] story has just been totally refuted by Sec. Tillerson and [Vice President] Pence. It is #FakeNews. They should issue an apology to AMERICA!"
Tillerson, too, refuted the "erroneous" reporting on Wednesday afternoon during an televised address to the nation.
"The VP has never had to pursue me to remain as Secretary of State because I have never considered leaving this post," Tillerson said.
"Let me tell you what I've learned about this president," continued Tillerson. "He loves his country; he puts Americans and America first; he's smart; he demands results wherever he goes and he holds others around him accountable for whether they've done what he's asked them to do."
Tillerson suggested the report was meant to "undermine President Trump's own agenda."
Per the report, top administration officials told NBC News that Tillerson had been at odds with the president for some time over policy differences, and the address to the Boy Scouts — an organization Tillerson ran for two years — was the last straw:
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.
Supposedly, according to the report, it was Vice President Mike Pence who coaxed Tillerson into sticking it out — at least until the end of the year.
"Pence has since spoken to Tillerson about being respectful of the president in meetings and in public, urging that any disagreements be sorted out privately, a White House official said. The official said progress has since been made," says the report.
It was, apparently, just days before Trump's address that Tillerson called Trump a "moron."
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.
Possibly adding credence to the report, tension between Tillerson and Trump has not been completely closed off to the public. Using his go-to medium, Trump seemed to scold his own Secretary of State via Twitter on October 1, telling Tillerson he was "wasting his time" negotiating with North Korea.
"I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man," wrote Trump, referring to North Korean madman Kim Jong-un. "Save your energy Rex, we'll do what has to be done!"
The Trump Administration has been plagued by cabinet shake-ups, firings, and resignations.
In July, Anthony Scaramucci, was fired after an, uh, colorful, ten-day stint as White House communications director. Just last week, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price recently resigned from his post after failing to convince Congress to pass health care reform, and after allegedly charging $1,000,000 in private travel to taxpayers.