Stephen Colbert probed Rex Tillerson’s decision to hold an impromptu presser earlier in the day, declaring his love for his job. Tillerson surprised TV news outlets Wednesday with the presser after they’d feasted all morning on an NBC News report he’d grown so frustrated by all those times Trump kneecapped him on Twitter and how he nearly quit. Veep Mike Pence had to talk him out of quitting, NBC News reported, though the point many honed in on was NBC News’s assertion that Tillerson called Trump a “f**king moron” at a Pentagon meeting.
“My commitment to the success of this president and our country is as strong as it was when I accepted his offer to serve as Secretary of State,” Tillerson had insisted from the podium.
In Colbert’s defense, that line was like throwing raw meat to late-night piranha. Colbert tossed up onscreen an old CNBC clip in which Tillerson had said in an interview “I didn’t want this job…my wife told me I’m supposed to do this.”
Tillerson called horseradish the part of NBC News’s story in which Pence persuaded him to remain, saying he’s never considered leaving the post. He made clear his opinion of Trump, saying he “loves this country, puts Americans and America first; he’s smart, demands results wherever he goes and holds those around him accountable for whether they’ve done the job he’s asked them to do.”
“Like holding uncomfortable press conferences after he finds out they’ve called him a moron,” Colbert speculated.