White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that President Donald Trump still has confidence in Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, despite reports that an exasperated Tillerson referred to Trump as a “moron” over the summer.
Asked whether Trump still has confidence in his secretary of state, Sanders told reporters on Air Force One, “As we’ve said many times before, if the President doesn’t have confidence in somebody, they will no longer be in their position.”
Trump on Wednesday claimed that Tillerson “totally refuted” reports that the two have clashed, though Tillerson only denied that he considered resigning, not that he openly disparaged the President.
In an unscheduled appearance before reporters, Tillerson claimed an NBC News report that Vice President Mike Pence convinced him not to resign was “erroneously reported” and said he “never considered leaving” Trump’s administration.
Tillerson declined to deny that he characterized Trump as a “moron,” however.
“I’m not going to deal with petty stuff like that,” he said.