Report: Tillerson, Mnuchin, and Mattis have a 'suicide pact' where if one resigns, they all do

Rex Tillerson.
(Image credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson brushed off reports that he was close to stepping down over the summer, frustrated over President Trump's fast and furious Twitter fingers and insufficient staffing, and one U.S. official believes he knows why Tillerson didn't resign, despite his annoyance.

The official told BuzzFeed News that Tillerson has a "suicide pact" with Defense Secretary James Mattis and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, meaning if any one of the Cabinet secretaries becomes the target of Trump's ire, all three will leave together. One way of getting on Trump's bad side would be by calling him a "moron," which NBC News says Tillerson did following a meeting in July at the Pentagon. When asked by reporters on Wednesday if he did call Trump a moron, Tillerson replied that he doesn't "deal with petty stuff like that."

Later in the day, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert denied that Tillerson ever called Trump a moron, with her excuse being that Tillerson would never utter such a word. "The secretary did not use that type of language to speak about the president of the United States," she said. "He does not use that language to speak about anyone."

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for TheWeek.com. Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.