United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday denied having offered to resign from Donald Trump's cabinet and dismissed as 'petty nonsense' a media report that he had called the president a 'moron'.
The NBC News had reported that Tillerson came close to resigning this summer but was requested to stay in the job until the end of the year.
"The vice president has never had to persuade me to remain as Secretary of State because I have never considered leaving this post," Tillerson told reporters during a brief media interaction at the State Department.
"While I'm new to Washington, I have learned there are some who try to sow dissension to advance their own agenda by tearing others apart in an effort to undermine President Trump's own agenda. I do not and I will not operate that way," he said, responding to a question on news reports that he had offered to resign.
He also dismissed as 'petty nonsense' a news report that he had called the president a 'moron' during a tense meeting with national security officials this summer.
Responding to a question, Tillerson said that he never considered leaving the Trump administration.
"I have answered that question repeatedly; for some reason, it continues to be misreported. There has never been a consideration in my mind to leave," he said.
Tillerson said he serves at the appointment of the president and he is here for as long as the president feels he can be useful to achieving his objectives.
He also praised President Trump. "Let me tell you what I’ve learned about this president, whom I did not know before taking this office. He loves his country. He puts Americans and America first. He’s smart," he said.
Trump, he said, demands results wherever he goes, and he holds those around him accountable for whether they’ve done the job he’s asked them to do.
Accountability is one of the bedrock values the president and he share, Tillerson said.
IMAGE: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson makes a statement to the media at the State Department in Washington on Wednesday. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters