Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a seemingly frequent target of subtle insults from President Donald Trump, said Thursday that at times he feels like he wants to ‘curl up in a ball.’
Tillerson was in Geneva, Switzerland to meet with a United Nations envoy about renewed peacemaking efforts in Syria.
Walking with a group of diplomats in Barton Park near the World Trade Organization, he spied a bronze sculpture depicting two people huddled and embracing tightly.
‘Yeah, some days I feel like I need to do that – curl up in a ball,’ Tillerson said, laughing.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson happened upon a sculpture in a Geneva, Switzerland park on Thursday and said it reminded him of wanting to ‘curl up in a ball’ occasionally
Tillerson was joking but his comment resonated with politics-watchers who see him as a frequent target of President Donald Trump’s sarcastic barbs
The sculpture is found outside the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva’s Barton Park
Tillerson (left) was in Geneva on Thursday in part to meet with U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura (right)
Tillerson’s relationship with Trump is on-again, off-again in its collegiality. He was accused this month of calling the president a ‘moron’ following a summertime meeting about America’s nuclear capacity.
His spokeswoman denied it. But Tillerson still found himself in the awkward position of holding a press conference specifically to squash rumors that he was considering resigning.
But there was no mistaking Trump’s tone a few weeks ago when he publicly chided Tillerson for working toward a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff in North Korea.
President Trump has been criticized for a series of statements that appeared to demean Tillerson after a report surfaced that the secretary of state had called him a ‘moron’ in private
‘I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful secretary of state, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,’ Trump tweeted on October 1, using his snarky nickname for dictator Kim Jong-Un.
‘Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!’ Trump added, twisting the knife.
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker later told The Washington Post that Trump had ‘publicly castrate[d]’ the secretary of state.
‘I checked,’ Tillerson said two days later on CNN. ‘I’m fully intact.’
Corker, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is unhappy with how Trump seems to be marginalizing Tillerson.
The secretary of state, Corker said this month, is being marginalized by Trump – putting him ‘in an incredibly frustrating place’ where he ‘ends up not being supported in the way that I hope a secretary of state would be supported.’
Tillerson downplayed tensions on Thursday, telling reporters that he and the president typically ‘sit and talk before I leave, and I spoke to him on Friday right before I headed to Andrews [Air Force Base].’
‘So if something comes up along the way, obviously, then we can talk,’ he said.
‘We develop the policy, the president approves it, and then it’s up to me. My responsibility is to go out and execute that policy,’ Tillerson added.