The Trump administration remains united in the struggle against North Korea despite reports by the mainstream media implicating a divided cabinet.
While appearing on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson explained that he has orders from President Trump to keep negotiating with North Korea “until the first bomb drops.” The Secretary of State explained that President Trump wants the situation in North Korea to be “solved diplomatically,” Tillerson said, adding, “[h]e is not seeking to go to war,” according to The Daily Caller.
Tillerson did not clarify which country he thinks will be launching the first bombs.
Over the last month, the mainstream media has expressed great confusion around President Trump and his plans in North Korea. President Trump maintains that he will not reveal his military strategy to the media.
While posing for a picture with military leaders, President Trump startled reporters when he suggested this might be the “calm before the storm,” leading many to speculate that he is planning to launch military action.
Clarifying President Trump’s comments, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters, “We’re never going to say in advance what the President is going to do. And as he said last night, in addition to those comments, you’ll have to wait and see,” according to the White House.
“We’re continuing to put maximum economic and diplomatic pressure on countries like North Korea,” she added. “But at the same time, the President is going to keep all of his options on the table. Our position has not changed. It’s been very consistent.”
Earlier this month, NBC News reported–on the basis of unnamed sources–that an exasperated Tillerson insulted Trump, calling him a “moron” for supposedly contemplating a dramatic increase in America’s nuclear arsenal. President Trump, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and Tillerson’s spokesperson have all denied the allegations.
However, the basis of the NBC News report has helped push a mainstream media narrative that the Trump administration is divided and in turmoil.
This sense of turmoil was fueled by a tweet released by President Trump on October 1 where he suggested that, despite Tillerson’s best efforts, diplomacy will not sway North Korea.
“I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man…. Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!” the President tweeted.
In response to the tweet, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) suggested President Trump has “castrated” his Secretary of State. When asked by Jake Tapper to respond to the Senator’s accusations, Tillerson flatly replied, “I checked, I’m fully intact.”
President Trump is pursuing diplomacy with North Korea in order to avoid war. Are his efforts wasted?
While appearing on State of the Union, Secretary Tillerson made his position clear. “I call the president Mr. President,” Tillerson said, suggesting he has the utmost respect for his boss. “He and I have a very very open, frank, and candid relationship,” he said, adding that he visits the Oval Office almost every day.
As for the Tweets? Tillerson said he does not mind those either, explaining that President Trump is an unconventional president who uses Twitter to cause “forcing action” in an attempt shake up the “status quo.”