Tillerson here, working, Trump spokeswoman says

Dec 01, 2017, 06:23
Tillerson here, working, Trump spokeswoman says

The New York Times reported Thursday that chief of staff John Kelly has drawn up a plan to replace Tillerson in a matter of weeks with Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo.

While President Trump has clashed with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, he appears fond of Pompeo, accepting daily briefings from the West Point grad.

"He's here. Rex is here", Trump offered, noting that Tillerson was in the building - but not in the room - at the time.

In October, Tillerson shot down a report that said he had been on the verge of resigning from his Cabinet position over the summer.

"He's here. Rex is here", Trump said in the Oval Office when asked if he wants Tillerson to remain in his job. Tom Cotton (R-AR), a pro-torture pick that's also likely to attract a lot of scrutiny. She says Tillerson continues to lead the department.

But White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn't deny it. "Perfect" is widely reported to be behind some of the most egregious mistakes of Trump's presidency so far, including the firing of former FBI Director James Comey and Trump's decision to back the doomed Alabama primary candidacy of Sen.

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Mr Tillerson's departure would end a troubled tenure for the former Exxon Mobile chief executive, who has found himself increasingly at odds with Mr Trump over policy challenges such as North Korea and under fire for his planned cuts at the State Department.

That Mr Tillerson has struggled to forge a comfortable relationship with Mr Trump has always been an open secret in Washington.

It is exceedingly rare for a secretary of state, America's face on the global stage, to be fired or to serve for a year or less. That is giving West Wing officials pause, a source close to the White House said.

Mr. Trump has been publicly frustrated with his top diplomat.

The president and Mr Tillerson have also been at odds over a range of policy issues, including the Iran nuclear deal and the approach the USA should take with North Korea.

At a private dinner of foreign policy veterans last month, a senior White House official criticized Tillerson for failing to support the president's agenda, according to a person familiar with the matter.

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