Republican senator Bob Corker has accused Trump of undermining Tillerson’s efforts to rein in North Korea through peaceful means.
Appearing on State of the Union, Tillerson described efforts to deal with North Korea before the CNN host brought up the Trump “moron” comment, setting off an exchange where the Secretary of State continued to duck giving a direct answer, saying he wouldn’t “dignify the question”. “These are the games of Washington”.
The secretary of state also denied that he had, in the words of interviewer Jake Tapper of CNN, been “gelded”.
“So, my position on it is: I’m not playing”. I don’t deal that way, I don’t work that way and I’m not going to dignify the question.
“As I said Jake, I’m not playing”, Tillerson responded. These are the destructive games of this town. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who now chairs the influential Foreign Relations Committee.
Tensions between the US and North Korea have escalated in recent months.
“I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man”, the president tweeted earlier this month, adding that Tillerson should save his energy”.
The secretary refused to directly answer the question and instead focused on Washington D.C., which he said “actually enjoys the status quo”. “And he is very unique”.
“I am fully committed to his objectives”.
“He is certainly the most unique president we have ever seen in modern history”, the former Exxon Mobil CEO said.
He said Trump has made it clear Tillerson should continue his diplomatic efforts in North Korea.
The secretary then pushed back at accusations from Senator Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, that the Trump administration was dragging its feet on implementing new sanctions on Russian Federation.