Report: Trump, Pence Livid About Report Tillerson Called POTUS A ‘Moron’

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Contrary to his sunny public statements, President Donald Trump was none too pleased by a report that his own secretary of state had threatened to resign and openly disparaged him as a “moron,” NBC News reported Thursday evening.

In a report that doubled as a laundry list of unnamed White House sources, NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell described the mobilization of top White House aides to contain the aftermath of an NBC News report on Tillerson’s actions and remarks.

Trump on Wednesday said he was “very honored” by Tillerson’s unscheduled remarks to reporters, and called the NBC News report “a totally phony story.”

In private, however, Trump was “furious” about the report, Mitchell reported, citing five unnamed senior administration officials, and White House chief of staff John Kelly abandoned plans to travel with him to Las Vegas in order to “manage the fallout.”

And Mitchell reported, citing seven unnamed senior officials, that the report left Pence “fuming.”

Tillerson’s unscheduled press conference on Wednesday, where he did not deny calling the President a “moron,” was a result of a conversation Pence had with the secretary of state, according to Mitchell.

Kelly then met with Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Mitchell reported, citing three unnamed officials, to discuss their strategy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

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