Trump touts Tillerson, Kelly, comments on Weinstein on way to fundraiser

Reports suggest tension among top aides

(CNN) - President Donald Trump addressed questions Saturday evening about his relationships with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and White House chief of staff John Kelly amid reporting about tensions among his top aides.

"I have a very good relationship" with Tillerson, Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a fundraiser in North Carolina on Saturday evening, adding that Kelly likes the secretary of state as well.

"We disagree on a couple of things," Trump said, seemingly referring to Tillerson when asked if Kelly had advised him against publicly critiquing the secretary. "Sometimes I'd like him to be a little bit tougher, but other than that we have a very good relationship."

Tillerson, who has reportedly been displeased with Trump and his own role in the administration, made a public statement this week reaffirming his support for the President after news reports spoke of acrimony between the two men -- principally, that Tillerson had questioned Trump's intelligence, calling him a "moron," in front of other top officials. That, in turn, prompted questions over Kelly's own frustrations in managing the White House.

Tillerson's reaffirmation of his support for Trump prompted the President to say his secretary of state had refuted the story about the reported insult. Trump later told reporters inside a Las Vegas hospital, where he was visiting to console the victims of Sunday's mass shooting, that he has "total confidence" in Tillerson and said reports that the secretary of state called him a moron were "fake news" and "totally made up."

In his remarks Saturday evening, the President was also effusive about his second chief of staff, who took on the role in July.

"John Kelly is one of the best people I've ever worked with," Trump told reporters. "He's doing an incredible job, and he told me for the last month he loves it more than anything he's ever done. ... He will be here, in my opinion, for the entire remaining seven years."

Remarks on Weinstein controversy

Trump also waded into the controversy over Hollywood studio boss Harvey Weinstein, whose future at the film company he helped found is in question following a blistering report by The New York Times detailing numerous accusations of sexual harassment against him.

"I've known Harvey Weinstein for a long time," Trump told reporters when asked about the controversy. "I'm not at all surprised to see it."

Asked whether he thought Weinstein's actions were inappropriate, Trump replied, "Well, he says they were inappropriate."

Questioned about his own sexually aggressive remarks about women in an "Access Hollywood" audio recording, which was leaked a year ago Saturday, Trump said, "That's locker room... that's locker room," before moving on to a question from another reporter.


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