Vice President Mike Pence's office pushed back on a news story Wednesday that claimed Pence persuaded Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to remain in the administration during a particularly turbulent period over the summer.
Jarrod Agen, Pence's top spokesman, said Wednesday in a statement provided to the Washington Examiner that the vice president and Tillerson have never discussed resignation. Tillerson has also denied any conversation about quitting.
Agen described the NBC News story about Pence's intervention as "categorically false."
"The Vice President values the service of the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and is grateful for his strong affirmation of President Trump's America First foreign policy agenda," Agen said in his statement. "The Vice President can also confirm that, as the Secretary of State asserted, at no time did he and the Secretary discuss the prospect of resignation. Any reporting to the contrary is categorically false."
Pence and Tillerson discussed personnel only once, according to NBC, and their talk focused on questions about how well United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley has served the administration.
R.C. Hammond, the State Department's top spokesman, has since walked back the description he gave NBC of the conversation in which Pence supposedly asked Tillerson for his thoughts on Haley.
"[A]ny assertion that the Vice President questioned Ambassador Nikki Haley's value to the Trump Administration is also categorically false," Agen said. "The Vice President has known Ambassador Nikki Haley for many years and holds her in the highest personal and professional regard. The Vice President appreciates her strong contribution and service to the administration at the United Nations."