Tillerson Denies He Considered Quitting -- WSJ
Secretary of state affirms support for Trump's policies amid reports of differences
By Felicia Schwartz
This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (October 5, 2017).
WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday he hasn't contemplated resigning and praised President Donald Trump's foreign policy, calling Mr. Trump "smart."
"I have never considered leaving this post," Mr. Tillerson said.
Mr. Tillerson spoke in the State Department's Treaty Room to deny longstanding rumors about his possible resignation after a report Wednesday morning that he referred to Mr. Trump as a "moron" and had to be talked out of quitting by Vice President Mike Pence and others.
A former Exxon Corp. chief executive who had never served in government before assuming his current job, Mr. Tillerson has had public and private differences with Mr. Trump over key national security issues, including the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, the administration's talks with North Korea, a dispute among Persian Gulf countries, and the Paris climate accord.
But in an abruptly scheduled news conference, Mr. Tillerson said that he supports Mr. Trump's "America first" approach to foreign policy and extolled "what we have accomplished... as a team." He said that suggestions to the contrary were an attempt to divide administration officials.
Later Wednesday, Mr. Trump said that he has "total confidence" in Mr. Tillerson.