Tillerson: 'I did not call Donald Trump a moron'

Washington: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has refuted claims that he almost quit the Trump administration, while his department says he did not call President a 'moron'.

Mr Tillerson spoke out on Wednesday after NBC News reported that Vice-President Mike Pence and other top officials had intervened to persuade him not to resign during the summer as tensions rose between Mr Trump and his top diplomat.

Their meeting came days after Mr Tillerson, in a session with Donald Trump's national security team and Cabinet officials at the Pentagon, openly criticised the President and reportedly called him a "moron", NBC said, citing three officials familiar with the incident.

However the Secretary of State said he had never considered resigning from his post, saying he was as committed to President Donald Trump's agenda as much today as he was when he first came into office.

"I have never considered leaving this post," he said. "I am here for as long as the President feels I can be useful to achieving his objectives."

NBC reported that Mr Tillerson, in late July, had weighed whether to return to Washington from a personal trip to Texas but was reassured after discussions with General John Kelly, now Mr Trump's chief of staff, and Defence Secretary James Mattis.

The White House declined to comment to NBC, but a State Department spokesman told the network Mr Tillerson did not call the President a moron.

"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!" Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning shortly after NBC published its report. It was not clear what stories Trump was disputing.

Mr Trump appeared to undercut Mr Tillerson over the weekend when he tweeted that he told his Secretary of State that he was "wasting his time" trying to negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

Reuters

This story Tillerson: 'I did not call Donald Trump a moron' first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.