During a spur of the moment press conference Wednesday morning, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took a moment to address news he had used unkind rhetoric toward President Donald Trump.
“First, my commitment to the success of our president and our country is as strong as it was the day I accepted his offer to serve as secretary of state,” Tillerson said at the top of the press conference.
NBC News broke the story earlier Wednesday that Tillerson, after President Trump’s controversial July 20 speech to the Boy Scouts of America, had called the president a “moron.” The comments were reportedly made at the Pentagon during a meeting with members of Trump’s national security team and various cabinet members.
Tillerson, fourth in line for the presidency, was “on the verge of resigning” over the comments.
Continuing after a brief rundown of the accomplishments and currents goings-on of the Trump administration, Tillerson addressed the NBC News report: “The vice president has never had to persuade me to remain as secretary of state because I have never considered leaving this post.”
Not long before Tillerson’s press conference, Trump tweeted that NBC was “#FakeNews”:
NBC news is #FakeNews and more dishonest than even CNN. They are a disgrace to good reporting. No wonder their news ratings are way down!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 4, 2017
On the issue of the use of the word “moron,” Tillerson stated it was “petty.”
“I’m not going to deal with petty stuff like that. This is what I don’t understand about Washington. Again, I’m not from this place,” Tillerson said. “But the places I come from, we don’t deal with that kind of petty nonsense. And it is intended to do nothing but divide people.”
Watch clips of Tillerson’s statement above, via Fox News and CNN.