WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he’s “fully intact” despite Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker’s comments suggesting President Donald Trump’s tweets and foreign policy comments “castrate” the secretary’s diplomatic efforts.
“I checked,” Tillerson said Sunday. I’m fully intact.”
Corker told The Washington Post in an interview last week that Trump’s public statements on foreign policy undercut his secretary of state — creating “binary” scenarios for the United States on the world stage.
“You cannot publicly castrate your own secretary of state without giving yourself that binary choice,” Corker told the Post. “The tweets — yes, you raise tension in the region (and) it’s very irresponsible.”
Corker added the Trump administration has made some progress on North Korea especially when it comes to working with China, which he credited to Tillerson’s diplomatic efforts.
“The greatest diplomatic activities we have are with China, and the most important, and they have come a long, long way,” Corker said, according to the Post. “Some of the things we are talking about are phenomenal.”
Corker’s comments follow commotion over the president’s tweets aimed at the Tennessee Republican and Tillerson.
Corker, who has announced he is not going to seek re-election after 2018, and Trump have publicly quarreled recently on social media.
“The Failing @nytimes set Liddle’ Bob Corker up by recording his conversation,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday. “Was made to sound a fool, and that’s what I am dealing with!”
A transcript of the conversation, however, shows the newspaper did not set up Corker and that the senator was well aware that he was on the record.
And recently, Trump said on Twitter that his secretary of state was wasting his time with diplomatic efforts in North Korea.
During his Sunday interview, Tillerson maintained that he’s fully committed to the president’s objectives, and said he wouldn’t dignify confirming or denying reports indicating that he called the president a “moron” after a meeting at the Pentagon.
“How he wants to use his own skills tactically to make change,” Tillerson said, adding: “I’m there to help him achieve that.”