How Tillerson overcame Trump’s alleged ‘castration’ with a well-timed sound bite

The secretary of state’s quick quip diverted reporters’ attention and helped him untangle himself from additional political sparring. Tell us about similar PR successes, and you could win a prize.

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Don’t believe me? Ask Rex Tillerson, our U.S. Secretary of State.

Pursued by reporters to confirm or deny that he called Trump a “moron,” Tillerson bobbed and weaved with no success. The questions kept coming. Then came his interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper.

When asked by Tapper if Tillerson felt “publicly castrated” by Trump, a suggestion made by GOP Sen. Bob Corker the previous week, Tillerson won the day with this showstopper:

“I checked. I’m fully intact.”

The quote became an instant hit on the Internet. Reporters stopped talking about “Moron-gate” and laughed instead at Tillerson’s good-natured comeback.

The moral of the story: A good quote can divert attention, humanize the target and change the conversation. This is why political image makers spend hours rehearsing sound bites before press conferences and political debates.

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