Politics

Tillerson Has Testy Exchange With Tapper Over Alleged ‘Moron’ Comment: ‘You Want to Make a Game Out of It’

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said again Sunday he would not engage in "games" by answering whether he called President Donald Trump a "moron."

NBC News reported that Tillerson made the comment over the summer and Tillerson has not denied it but rather said the whole discussion around the report is "petty." CNN host Jake Tapper repeatedly asked him about the allegation, but Tillerson insisted he would not play "games" by answering.

"These are the games of Washington," Tillerson said. "These are the destructive games of this town. They're not helpful to anyone, so my position on it is: I'm not playing. I'm not playing. You want to make a game out of it, I'm not playing."

Tapper questioned the logic of dismissing the question, saying that Trump and Tillerson’s relationship matters greatly for the world. Even though the State Department denied the comment, Tillerson refused to answer Tapper and instead talked about the problems with the culture of Washington, D.C.

"This is a town that seems to relish gossip, rumor, innuendo, and they feed on it," Tillerson said. "They feed on one another in a very destructive way."

"I don't work that way and I'm not going to dignify the question," he added. "I call the president ‘Mr. President.’ He and I have a very open, frank and candid relationship."

Tillerson said he and Trump work closely on matters of foreign policy and he said his job is to execute the decisions the president makes. He called the Trump administration "unconventional," including his role within it.

"He has assembled a very, I think, unconventional team," Tillerson said. "He himself is an unconventional president. He's assembled an unconventional cabinet. I’m an unconventional pick as secretary of state. But that’s because he does not accept the status quo with the many threats that we are confronting in the world today."

Tillerson described Trump’s work as aggressively "forcing action" on foreign policy and said his goal is to change the status quo.

"He is not going to accept the status quo," Tillerson said. "The American people elected him to change the status quo, and that's what he's doing."