Tillerson downplays tensions with Trump

WASHINGTON US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday minimised tensions with his boss, President Donald Trump, and brushed aside comments from an influential lawmaker, who compared Mr Trump's undermining of his top diplomat to a public castration.

"I am fully committed to his objectives. I agree with his objectives. I agree with what he is trying to do," Mr Tillerson said of Mr Trump on CNN.

His tenure as secretary of state has been dogged by rumours about rifts with Mr Trump over policy. Earlier this month, Mr Trump undercut Mr Tillerson in a Twitter message, saying he was wasting his time trying to negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker said the comments were the equivalent of castrating Mr Tillerson in public.

"I checked. I am fully intact," Mr Tillerson said when asked about Mr Corker's comments on CNN. He repeatedly declined to answer a question about a report by NBC News that said he had called Mr Trump a "moron" during a private meeting in July with US officials.

Mr Tillerson has often found himself at odds with Mr Trump on issues from withdrawing from the Paris agreement on climate change to North Korea, according to current and former US officials and news media reports.

Signs of tensions between the two have raised questions about whether Mr Tillerson speaks for the administration.

Mr Tillerson has batted away rumours that he might resign.

He acknowledged in a separate appearance on CBS on Sunday that he and Mr Trump "don't agree on everything".

"Sometimes he changes his mind," Mr Tillerson said. "I will work as hard as I can to implement his decisions successfully." - REUTERS

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