Politics

Trump’s Good With Tillerson, But Wants Him To Be ‘A Little Bit Tougher’

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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President Donald Trump dispelled rumors again Saturday that he and his secretary of state are at odds, contrary to recent media reports.

“We have a very good relationship,” the president said of Rex Tillerson before he left for North Carolina Saturday evening. “We disagree on a couple of things. Sometimes I’d like him to be a little bit tougher. But other than that, we have a very good relationship.” It is unclear what the president expects as far as toughness is concerned, but Trump has stated repeatedly that there is no point in talking to North Korea, something Tillerson has been working towards since he took office as secretary of state.

The president’s comments do, however, clearly refute reports that the relationship between Trump and Tillerson was on a downward slide, so much so that the latter was reportedly considering resigning.

Earlier this week, NBC released a report claiming that Tillerson called Trump a “f***king moron” and threatened to resign. Both the secretary of state and the president have dismissed this bombshell report as inaccurate. “That was fake news,” Trump said Saturday. “That was fake news by NBC.”

Vice President Mike Pence also refuted the story, which claimed that he had to intervene to calm Tillerson’s fury.

Trump criticized NBC for its highly-questionable reporting in an tweet earlier in the day.

Trump fired off a similar tweet earlier in the week calling out NBC and CNN for “fake news.”


Speaking before Congress this week, Secretary of Defense James Mattis stressed that the divide between Tillerson and Trump was not what the media was making it out to be. He explained that he does “not see the divergence as strongly as some have interpreted it.”

Trump’s language Saturday and Mattis’ statement suggest that there are a few rough patches in the relationship, but suggestions that the relationship between Trump and his secretary of state was on the verge of collapse may have been exaggerations.

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