Amid crises, tensions between Pres. Trump and Tillerson persist

"You can not publicly castrate your own secretary of state without giving yourself that binary choice", Corker told the Washington Post in a phone interview Friday. They feed on one another in a very destructive way.

But despite Tillerson's efforts to move beyond the story, it has created a perception among many in Washington that the clash with Trump has weakened the secretary of state's voice on the world stage.

"Those diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops", Tillerson said on CNN's "State of the Union". "I don't work that way and I don't feel that way", he said.

Earlier this month, as Tillerson flew home from meeting with top Chinese officials, Trump tweeted that his envoy was "wasting his time" in trying to probe North Korea's willingness to talk.

Again and again, Tillerson declined in a news show interview to attest to the accuracy of the report about his use of the word "moron" to describe the commander in chief.

"I'm not going to deal with that petty stuff", he replied, saying he would not dignify the question with an answer. He previously dispatched State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert to flatly deny he ever called the president a "moron".

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The secretary also says he's committed to executing the President's objectives, despite Tennessee Sen. "I'm just not going to be part of this effort to divide this administration". Bob Corker's comments suggesting Trump's foreign policy statements, like the ones he's posted on Twitter, "castrate" the secretary's diplomatic efforts.

"I'm not playing", Tillerson told Tapper, after Tapper asked about the alleged "moron" comment.

- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 1, 2017.Save your energy Rex, we'll do what has to be done! Yet when Trump publicly says the man in charge of representing his administration overseas "is wasting his time" on diplomacy everyone starts to doubt him.

"I checked", he told Tapper.

Senator Corker made the claim in a Washington Post interview last week amid a public spat with the president.

It was unclear why Tillerson was unwilling to repeat what his spokeswoman has said on his behalf.

  • Sonia Alvarado