Rex Tillerson refuses to deny that he called Trump a 'moron'
Rex Tillerson (Washington Post)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson denied reports that he considered resigning after clashing with President Donald Trump.

The secretary of state reportedly criticized the president's intellectual capabilities July 20 during a meeting on the Islamic State with national security staffers and top Cabinet officials.

But Tillerson addressed those reports Wednesday morning during a White House news conference, saying Vice President Mike Pence did not have to persuade him to remain on the job.

He declined to specifically deny the report that he called Trump a moron during the Pentagon meeting, saying, "I'm not going to deal with petty stuff like that," but said he had learned three things about the president in nearly nine months on the job.

"He loves America, he demands results wherever he goes," Tillerson said. "He's smart, (and) he demands accountability."

Tillerson claimed he had never considered stepping down as secretary of state.

The Council on Foreign Relations called on Tillerson to resign Wednesday, after his criticism was reported by NBC News.

Tillerson publicly challenged Trump's moral equivocation on a white supremacist rally in Virginia, saying "the president speaks for himself."

Trump has publicly challenged the secretary of state's diplomatic work on North Korea.