Trump Claims Tillerson ‘Totally Refuted’ NBC News Report On Friction (He Didn’t)

Andrew Harnik/AP

President Donald Trump on Wednesday claimed that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “totally refuted” an NBC News report that Tillerson openly disparaged the President and threatened to resign, though Tillerson only pushed back on part of the report.

“The @NBCNews story has just been totally refuted by Sec. Tillerson and @VP Pence,” Trump tweeted after Tillerson made an unscheduled statement to reporters. “They should issue an apology to AMERICA!”

“NBC News will not issue an apology to America,” NBC News host Hallie Jackson responded on air.

In his remarks to reporters, Tillerson denied that Vice President Mike Pence had to talk him down from resigning earlier this year, but conspicuously declined to deny that he openly characterized Trump as a “moron.”

“I’m not going to deal with petty stuff like that,” Tillerson said.

NBC News reporter Stephanie Ruhle cited a source who said Tillerson in fact used stronger language in his disparagement of the President.

“My source didn’t just say that he called him a moron,” Ruhle said. “He said an f-ing moron.”

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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