President Trump was reportedly "furious" this week after NBC News reported that Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonPompeo planning to meet with Pat Roberts amid 2020 Senate speculation Trump concealed details of meetings with Putin from senior officials: report Forget the border wall, a coup in Guatemala is the real emergency MORE had considered resigning earlier this year and had once called the president a "moron," the network said Thursday.

NBC News, citing multiple senior administration officials, reported that Trump "fumed" inside the White House to his chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE and others for two hours after the initial report was published.

Trump and members of the administration have publicly denied any tension between the two. 


NBC reported on Wednesday morning that Tillerson had made the remark about Trump at a meeting of national security officials at the Pentagon over the summer.

Tillerson called a hastily scheduled press conference to address the report Wednesday morning, though he did not deny that he used the word to describe the president. A State Department spokeswoman later denied that Tillerson had used the language.

NBC reported Thursday that its initial report was the first time Trump had heard the disparaging comments from Tillerson at the July 20 national security meeting.

Officials told NBC that Vice President Pence was also frustrated with Tillerson after the reports and held phone a conversation with him that led to Tillerson holding the press conference. 

Kelly reportedly backed out at the last minute of attending a trip to Las Vegas, where he was set to appear alongside the president in consoling victims from the mass shooting there Sunday, to handle the incident.

While in Las Vegas, Trump denied that there was any animosity between himself and Tillerson and attacked the reports on Tillerson's comments as "fake news."   

Kelly then called a meeting in the White House with Tillerson and  Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisMacron: US 'retreat from Syria' won't change mission to eradicate ISIS Poll: Most Americans want US troops in Syria Fox's Griffin: Was told by diplomat that Syria attack was 'direct result' of US pullout decision MORE to discuss how to proceed, three officials said. 

Trump sidestepped the conflicts on Twitter, where he said that both Tillerson and Pence had "totally refuted" the story. The @NBCNews story has just been totally refuted by Sec. Tillerson and @VP Pence. It is #FakeNews. They should issue an apology to AMERICA!"

The president also refuted reports that Tillerson had been ready to resign in July after clashing with Trump.