In what CBS News calls "abruptly scheduled remarks" Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called President Trump "smart" as part of a direct repudiation of a report from NBC News that alleged Tillerson came within an arm's length of resigning this summer and called the president a "moron" in a Pentagon meeting. NBC News' sources said VP Mike Pence coaxed Tillerson into staying, which Tillerson directly countered. Pence has "never had to persuade me" because "I have never considered leaving this post."
Tillerson says he wanted to "dispel with this notion I have ever considered leaving. For some reason it continues to be misreported." Tillerson says he serves at the appointment of the president and will remain at his post for as long as Trump desires. As for the alleged "moron" comment, he didn't issue a straightforward denial, notes Politico. "We don't deal with that kind of petty nonsense," was his reply to a question about it. Trump weighed in on the whole affair on Twitter: "NBC news is #FakeNews and more dishonest than even CNN. They are a disgrace to good reporting. No wonder their news ratings are way down!" (Read more Rex Tillerson stories.)