Secretary of State Rex Tillerson lashed out at a White House aide last Friday because he's frustrated at delays in appointing his proposed nominees for State Department jobs, according to a new report.
Politico reported Wednesday night that Tillerson berated Johnny DeStefano, who leads the presidential personnel office, because the White House keeps blocking his choices for senior State Department posts.
The secretary of state and former Exxon CEO also complained the White House has been leaking damaging information about him to the media, Politico reported, citing an unnamed person familiar with the meeting.
The heated conversation occurred in chief of staff Reince Priebus's office, where President Trump's son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, and Margaret Peterlin, Tillerson's chief of staff, were also present. Politico said Tillerson became so incensed, that Kushner spoke with Peterlin afterwards to say that the secretary of state had acted unprofessionally.
In a statement to Politico, the State Department did not deny the exchange happened.
"Colleagues are capable of frank exchanges," said R.C. Hammond, a State Department spokesman. "Evaluating nominees did get off to a slow start, but it is now moving along at a pretty good clip."
Tillerson has chafed at the White House's involvement in the State Department's personnel process after Trump promised him full autonomy over staffing decisions. Tillerson, who is 65, resents being told what to do by younger White House staffers, Politico reported.
DeStefano, 38, worked as a senior adviser to former House Speaker John Boehner before he joined the Trump administration where he has struggled to fill government jobs.