Tillerson: Our strategies 'are resilient enough' for Trump's tweets

Tillerson: Our strategies 'are resilient enough' for Trump's tweets

Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonOvernight Defense: Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital | Mattis, Tillerson reportedly opposed move | Pentagon admits 2,000 US troops are in Syria | Trump calls on Saudis to 'immediately' lift Yemen blockade Trump has yet to name ambassadors to key nations in Mideast Mattis, Tillerson warned Trump of security concerns in Israel embassy move MORE says U.S. foreign policy is "resilient enough to accommodate unknowns," including President Trump's tweets.

In an interview with The New York Times Magazine published on Tuesday, Tillerson said the president's tweets often catch him off guard, but that he tries to incorporate the messages "into my strategies and my tactics."

"In a dynamic situation, like we deal with here all the time — and you can go walk around the world, they’re all dynamic — things happen," he said. "You wake up the next morning, something’s happened. I wake up the next morning, the president’s got a tweet out there. So I think about, O.K., that’s a new condition. How do I want to use that?”

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"Our strategies and the tactics we’re using to advance the policies have to be resilient enough to accommodate unknowns, O.K.? So if you want to put that in an unknown category, you can. It certainly kind of comes out that even I would say, ‘I wasn’t expecting that.’ But it doesn’t mean our strategies are not resilient enough to accommodate it."

The interview, conducted last month, came just days before Trump took to Twitter to tell Tillerson to stop "wasting his time trying to negotiate" with North Korea, after the secretary of State indicated that the U.S. had a line of communication with Pyongyang.

Tillerson's relationship with Trump has reportedly become strained. In an unusual news conference earlier this month, Tillerson sought to knock down reports that he had considered stepping down from his post over the summer.

In that news conference, Tillerson declined to comment on an NBC News report claiming that he had once referred to Trump as a "moron," though a State Department spokeswoman later denied that he had done so. Tillerson has also dismissed the controversy as "petty stuff."

Trump has said that he has confidence in Tillerson. But he also said earlier this month that he would like the secretary of State to be "a little bit tougher."