Secretary of State Rex Tillerson dryly said he'd checked and was still "fully intact" Sunday after being asked to respond to a Republican senator's suggestion that he had been publicly "castrated" by President Donald Trump.
Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) said Trump is effectively neutering Tillerson with his public comments and creating a "binary" choice between war or rogue regimes getting nuclear weapons. One example Corker cited was Trump recently tweeting Tillerson was "wasting his time" by seeking diplomacy with North Korea.
"You cannot publicly castrate your own secretary of state without giving yourself that binary choice," Corker told the Washington Post in a phone interview Friday. "The tweets—yes, you raise tension in the region [and] it’s very irresponsible."
CNN host Jake Tapper brought up the remarks and noted Corker's great admiration for Tillerson, asking for his response. Tillerson said Trump was "unconventional" in his methods of motivating change in a town resistant to change.
"The last thing anyone likes to do in this town is make a decision, because when you make a decision you're suddenly accountable for that decision," Tillerson said.
"True," Tapper said.
Tillerson said Trump's executive orders on immigration, health care and the Iran nuclear deal were examples of his ways to "motivate a change" in policy.
"The president is simply trying to do that in his very unique style, and he is very unique," Tillerson said, adding he agrees with the president's objectives and was there to help him achieve those.
Tapper didn't stop asking about the "castration" remark, however.
"You have a cattle ranch," Tapper said. "You don't want to say anything about [Senator Corker] suggesting you've been gelded before the world? It's not anything that bothers you?"
"I checked, I'm fully intact," Tillerson deadpanned.
Tapper laughed and said he didn't expect that response.