Trump Lashes Out at NBC News Over Rex Tillerson "Moron" Report

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
President Trump

The president criticized the network twice in tweets this morning about a report on the secretary of state.

Once again, on Wednesday, President Donald Trump waded into a war of words and facts with a news outlet about a report that criticized his administration. Early in the morning, NBC News reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called his boss a "moron" this summer and had to be talked out of resigning.

Not long after the report published, Trump tweeted: "Wow, so many Fake News stories today. No matter what I do or say, they will not write or speak truth. The Fake News Media is out of control!"

A few hours later, he followed that tweet up by naming the outlet directly. "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!" Trump wrote.

Tillerson ended up calling a press conference, and while he declined to deny that he called the president "a moron," he described the report as "petty nonsense."

Contrary to the report, which described Tillerson being counseled by Vice President Mike Pence to remain, Tillerson told reporters: "The VP has never had to persuade me to remain secretary of state because I have never considered leaving this post."

President Trump, following the press conference, pronounced himself pleased with Tillerson's comments, which he interpreted as a debunking of the story.

"The @NBCNews story has just been totally refuted by Sec. Tillerson and @VP Pence. It is #FakeNews. They should issue an apology to AMERICA!" the president wrote on Twitter.

Trump re-iterated his critique of the NBC News report during remarks he made during his trip to Las Vegas. "It was fake news," he said in response to a reporter's question. "It was a totally phony story. ... It was made up by NBC. They just made it up."

The president was at it again on Thursday morning, again tweeting about the story and wondering why the Senate Intelligence Committee isn't investigating "the Fake News Networks in OUR country," after news came from the committee about the Russia investigation.

On Wednesday, the Senate intelligence committee said they still haven't been able to determine whether Russia colluded with the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election and that the investigation remains open.

Oct. 4, 12:15 p.m.: Updated with Trump's Las Vegas comments.

Oct. 5, 6:32 a.m.: Updated with Trump's Thursday morning tweets.