Official: Tillerson ‘not really speaking’ for Trump anymore
A White House official sharply rebuked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday, telling The Washington Post that President Trump’s Cabinet member no longer speaks for the administration.
“I think our allies know at this point he’s not really speaking for the administration,” the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the newspaper. The same person described Tillerson as “irrelevant” due to the influence of other diplomats and Cabinet officials.
Tillerson’s continued willingness to engage North Korean officials in conversation put him at odds with the White House again this week, which emphasized that Trump’s position on the issue had not changed.
One official told the newspaper that Tillerson “had not learned his lesson from the last time” when Trump rebuked him on Twitter about trying to talk to North Korea.
White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah told The Washington Post for its report that Trump “is very pleased with his entire national security team, which includes Secretary Tillerson.”
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told the newspaper that Tillerson “enjoys a strong relationship with the president. Most importantly, they share a commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, the security of our homeland and the protection of our allies.”
Tillerson has been the subject of months of speculation about his future in the administration, while his relationship with Trump has received much attention.
The State Department was forced to deny reports in October that Tillerson had referred to Trump as a “moron” after a meeting at the Pentagon over this summer.