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Secretary of State Tillerson Finally Answers Question From NBC News' Andrea Mitchell

Tillerson has long evaded past questions from the veteran foreign affairs correspondent.
Image: Rex Tillerson
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks in Washington, D.C., on March 6.(C) Kevin Lamarque / Reuters / Reuters

The question has been put to rest: Would Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ever respond to a query from NBC News' Andrea Mitchell?

At a photo op with the Saudi foreign minister, Tillerson on Thursday broke his pattern of silence or “no comment" replies to questions from the veteran foreign affairs correspondent — for the first time since he was confirmed.

Tillerson had previously not answered questions from Mitchell on varied topics, ranging from North Korea and China to when Tillerson would appoint a deputy.

Earlier this month, after the Twitter account for Fox News host Bill O’Reilly called Mitchell "unruly" for peppering Tillerson with questions even as his handlers tried to push her out of a room, Mitchell quipped on her MSNBC program "and that does it for this unruly edition of Andrea Mitchell Reports."

On Thursday, Mitchell asked Tillerson if Saudi Arabia and the United States were on the same page when it came to the strategy to defeat ISIS, during an appearance with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.

"I think as you saw from our meeting yesterday on the coalition to defeat ISIS there's great unanimity around the effort to defeat ISIS, not just on the battlefield but also off the battlefield and around the world. So yes I would say there's great unanimity," Tillerson said.

Mitchell on Twitter Thursday prefaced a tweet about Tillerson’s response with the words "He speaks" in parentheses.

Tillerson has occasionally responded very briefly to other reporters' shouted questions at photo opportunities in the past. On Wednesday night, for example, during an appearance with Singapore’s foreign minister, he expressed condolences to the victims of a terror attack in London.