Posted: 4:10 am ET
Less than 48 hours after Secretary Tillerson was called Donald Trump’s dog (see WaPo’s Dana Milbank Goes Scooby-Doo Slap-A-Lympics on Tillerson – Holy Bow Wow!), NBC News was out with a scoop where Secretary Tillerson was reported to have called POTUS a “moron” this past summer (see Tillerson’s Fury at Trump Required an Intervention From Pence). So then Mr. Tillerson, fourth in line to the throne, excuse me, the presidency, came out to speak to his long lost friends in the media in Foggy Bottom.
He starts with expressing his commitment to the success of President Trump:
There were some news reports this morning that I want to address. First, my commitment to the success of our President and our country is as strong as it was the day I accepted his offer to serve as Secretary of State. President Trump’s “America first” agenda has given voice to millions who felt completely abandoned by the political status quo and who felt their interests came second to those of other countries. President Trump’s foreign policy goals break the mold of what people traditionally think is achievable on behalf of our country.
He spent a paragraph of his remarks addressing the “erroneous” reporting involving the VP though he did not talk about that Nikki Haley part of the report helpfully provided on the record by his comm advisor:
To address a few specifics that have been erroneously reported this morning, the Vice President has never had to persuade me to remain the Secretary of State because I have never considered leaving this post. I value the friendship and the counsel of the Vice President and I admire his leadership within President Trump’s administration to address the many important agendas of President Trump, both from a foreign policy perspective and a diplomatic – I’m sorry, a domestic objective.
This presser is clearly intended for an audience of one. His speechwriters get points for calling POTUS “smart” and remembering to include the “America First” slogan:
Let me tell you what I’ve learned about this President, whom I did not know before taking this office. He loves his country. He puts Americans and America first. He’s smart. He demands results wherever he goes, and he holds those around him accountable for whether they’ve done the job he’s asked them to do. Accountability is one of the bedrock values the President and I share.
Oops … and this!
While I’m new to Washington, I have learned that there are some who try to sow dissension to advance their own agenda by tearing others apart in an effort to undermine President Trump’s own agenda. I do not and I will not operate that way, and the same applies to everyone on my team here at the State Department.
His full statement is here.
Congrats to Tillerson’s speechwriters. It worked!
Click here for the State Department spox Heather Nauert who officially denied from the podium that the Secretary of State called the President of the United States a “moron.” For the record, the reporter said “My source didn’t just say he called him a moron. He said he called him an f-ing moron.”
We’d like to know what kind of talking points Public Affairs is sending out to the field so our diplomats overseas can respond to their host countries’ inquiries, and whether they’re allowed to wear brown paper bags over their heads.
One reporter asked during the Daily Press Briefing, “Tillerson’s own spokesperson came out and walked back information that he had given to that story that apparently wasn’t accurate. And he said that he spoke out of line about conversations that he was not privy to. So that seems to me that he contributed inaccurate information to that story. On another occasion he denied conversations had happened between the State Department and the White House that multiple sources told us did happen, including a White House source. So how can we believe what the State Department says did or did not happen when Tillerson’s own spokesperson seems to be putting information out there that is not necessarily accurate?”
The spox’s response: “Honesty, being forthright, integrity is something that the Secretary has spoken to often. That is a value that he holds very close and very dear.[…] My colleague issued some tweets in response to that. I think I certainly share his sentiment in that he regrets those. His statement say that he spoke out of line about conversations he wasn’t privy to.”
The reporter pursued the question: “But if he’s giving information to a reporter that is categorically false on what seems to be now two occasions, how does the Secretary feel about his own spokesperson?”
The spox’s response: “I have not asked the Secretary that question.”
Um … “why not?”
AND NOW THIS —
We all know that this is not going to be the end of this exhausting drama. We’re just gonna stock on this shirt in our bunker so we’ll have a permanently screaming owl on our chest 24/7 from hereon (via Amazon Affiliate).