WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 17: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks about North Korea after a meeting of the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee at the State Department, on August 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP /MARK WILSON / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP
Washington’s top diplomat Secretary of State Rex Tillerson came under new pressure Wednesday after a report claimed he had branded President Donald Trump a “moron” during a Pentagon meeting.
According to an NBC News report citing “multiple senior administration officials” a few days after the heated July 20 meeting, Vice President Mike Pence met Tillerson to ask him to show respect.
It is not clear whether Trump was aware of the language Tillerson had used, but Pence and other senior officials reportedly urged the former oilman not to resign.
The report, which includes a formal denial of the reported outburst from a senior Tillerson aide, came just days after Trump upbraided Tillerson for “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with North Korea.
State Department and White House staff did not immediately respond to AFP requests for comment on the report, but Trump himself sent a new Tweet which may have been provoked by the report.
“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!” he wrote, without elaborating.
Tillerson appeared at the State Department on Wednesday for a photo opportunity with Pakistani Foreign Khawaja Muhammad Asif but refused to respond to reporters’ questions.