This week on 60 Minutes, CBS News White House correspondent Margaret Brennan talks with Secretary of State Rex TillersonAmong the topics the nation's top diplomat addressed were the pressure campaign on North Korea, charges that he is "dismantling American diplomacy," and his relationship with Vladimir Putin.
On the broadcast, Tillerson says he's had a relationship with Putin for 18 years, and he recalls first walking into the Kremlin as secretary of state: "The only thing I said to him was, 'Mr. President, same man, different hat.'"
But some in the media, beginning with The Washington Post, have speculated whether there is more than one person driving U.S. foreign policy. Tillerson on Friday wrapped up a tour of the Middle East, where President Trump's son-in-law has been tasked with spearheading a peace effort.
"The president's son-in-law is often referred to as a kind of shadow secretary of state," Brennan asks in the video above. How do you deal with that?"
"I deal with the policies the president's asked me to execute on," Tillerson answers, going on to say that Kushner consults him and seeks his advice. But when it comes to the perception that the administration has competing foreign policies, Tillerson says he doesn't think about it.
"I think about the policies the president's asked me to execute against," he says. "The plate is very full that we walked into when the president was inaugurated. There's plenty for everyone to work on."
As Brennan points out on the broadcast, Tillerson has lost a few arguments when advising the president, including withdrawing from both the Trans-Pacific Partnership on trade and the Paris climate accord.
In the clip above, Brennan asks him if walking away from America's commitments goes against the "code of the west," a belief Tillerson subscribes to that he says means "my word is my bond."
"Let's use the Paris climate accord as a good example," he says. "I think the president was correct in the way he assessed the commitment that China was held to relative to the commitment the American people were being held to."
Tillerson says the U.S. already has a proven history of working on the climate. "And then to hold ourselves to something that would really damage our economy and allows others a free pass, that was the issue."
Though Tillerson had previously argued for staying in the agreement, he says the decision to leave was "tactical."
"This is another one of those examples where, in my view, we could've achieved things by staying," he says. "And now we'll achieve them by leaving."
On the broadcast, Tillerson addresses the challenge of preventing nuclear war with North Korea and potentially negotiating with Kim Jong Un.
"That's who we have to work with to achieve this diplomatically," he says. "What we have to determine now is, are we even ready to start? Are they ready to start? And if they're not, we'll just keep the pressure campaign underway, and we will increase that pressure."
In the clip above, Tillerson also talks about the country's presence at the Olympic games. By attending the games, North Korea is trying to create the appearance that it is a normal country, he says.
"'See, we have athletes that compete. We have orchestras that play. We have people that like to ski,'" he says. "But the truth of the matter is, anyone that's been to the peninsula and has stood at the DMZ and gazed across that line to the north knows how oppressive that regime is and what life is really like for the North Korean people."
Tillerson says denuclearization—not regime change—is still the administration's top policy priority with North Korea.
"Once we achieve that, we're always ready to work with any nation to improve the situation for their people in terms of human rights, economic development, prosperity."
With all that's going on in the world, what made Rex Tillerson want to take the job as the nation's top diplomat? In the clip above, he tells Brennan it was a sense duty.
Tillerson says he registered for the draft during the Vietnam War and entered the lottery in 1970, when he was a freshman in college. But he says his number never came up, so he finished college and immediately joined Exxon, where he worked for 41 years.
"And when it was all done, and I thought about my dad's service in World War II, I thought about my uncle's three tours of duty in Vietnam, and I said to myself, I haven't done anything," Tillerson says. "So this is my turn. It's my turn to serve."
The videos above were edited by Will Croxton.