1. The secretary's comments came after a report from NBC News on Wednesday morning claimed that constant policy disputes had pushed Tillerson to the point of nearly resigning over the summer. The news network claimed that he was eventually persuaded to stay in his role after speaking with Vice President Mike Pence.
  2. "The vice president has never had to persuade me to remain as secretary of state because I have never considered leaving this post," Tillerson said on Wednesday.
  3. NBC News reported that things came to a head in July after President Donald Trump addressed the Boy Scouts of America in a divisive speech that was widely criticized for breaking years of presidential tradition with its political message. The head of the Boy Scouts later apologized for Trump's remarks.
  4. Just days before Trump's speech, Tillerson was heard calling Trump a "moron," NBC News reported, citing three unidentified officials.
  5. The secretary on Wednesday said that Trump is "smart" and declined to get into details about the reported name calling.
  6. "I’m not going to deal with petty stuff like that," Tillerson said. "This is what I don’t understand about Washington. I’m not from this place but where I come from, we don’t deal with that petty nonsense."
  7. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert denied that Tillerson called Trump a moron in a news briefing later Wednesday.
  8. "The secretary does not use that type of language," Nauert said. "The secretary did not use that type of language to speak about the president of the United States. He does not use that language to speak about anyone."
  9. Trump said the NBC News report was made up by the news network while speaking with reporters after meeting with victims of the Las Vegas massacre on Wednesday.
  10. "It was fake news, it was a totally phony story," Trump said. "It was made up by NBC, they just made it up."
  11. He added that he has "total confidence in Rex."
  12. Tillerson, 65, has served as secretary of state since shortly after Trump took office in January. Before assuming office on Feb. 1, Tillerson worked as chairman and chief executive officer of oil and gas giant ExxonMobil.
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