WASHINGTON — The Latest on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (all times local):

8:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump is once again denouncing reports that his secretary of state wanted to step down earlier this year.

Trump says Thursday on Twitter that Rex Tillerson “never threatened to resign.” Trump adds: “This is Fake News put out by @NBCNews. Low news and reporting standards. No verification from me.”

Tillerson on Wednesday rebutted an NBC News story claiming Vice President Mike Pence had to talk him out of resigning over the summer, and that Tillerson had insulted Trump’s intelligence by calling him a “moron.”

Tillerson stressed that he never considered resigning. After pointedly refusing to answer whether he once called Trump a “moron,” Tillerson had a spokeswoman deny he used such language.

Trump told reporters Wednesday that has “total confidence” in Tillerson.


4:18 a.m.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declares he never considered resigning as President Donald Trump’s top diplomat, disputing what he called “erroneous” reports that he wanted to step down earlier this year.

Tillerson pointedly refused to say whether he had called the president a “moron.” But later he had a spokeswoman deny he had used such language.

Tillerson sought Wednesday to rebut a widely disseminated NBC News story that claimed Vice President Mike Pence had to talk him out of resigning over the summer, and that Tillerson had questioned Trump’s intelligence.

The explosive claims followed several instances in which Trump’s and Tillerson’s policy pronouncements have appeared to clash.

Trump told reporters on Wednesday he has “total confidence” in Tillerson. Earlier, Trump denounced the NBC report as “fake news.”