White House Says Tillerson Is 'Here,' For Now

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Administration officials are floating a plan in which Trump would push out Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replace him with Mike Pompeo, who is now serving as Central Intelligence Agency director.

Pompeo is reportedly much closer to President Trump and has a good relationship with the President, unlike Tillerson, who has appeared to distance himself from Trump on a number of occasions.

Relations between President Trump and the senior member of his Cabinet - the former CEO of Exxon Mobil - have been strained nearly from the start.

Shortly after Tillerson announced that the USA was in diplomatic contact with Pyongyang, Mr. Trump tweeted that "he is wasting his time".


Asked whether he wanted Tillerson to remain in his job, Trump sidestepped the question, telling reporters at the White House: "He's here".

Trump is considering a plan to oust Tillerson, whose relationship has been strained by the top US diplomat's softer line on North Korea and other differences, senior administration officials said.

She says Tillerson continues to lead the department, and that the entire Cabinet is focused on completing Trump's first year in office.

"There are no personnel announcements at this time", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders later said in a statement that left Tillerson twisting in the wind. Both Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and retired Navy Vice Adm. Robert Harward are under consideration for that post. A few weeks later, Tillerson voiced his support for the president after a report claimed that he had called Trump a "moron" after a meeting on Afghanistan. Axios's Mike Allen and Jonathan Swan reported last month that Pompeo's stock was rising in the White House and that he was a leading contender to replace Tillerson.


"This is a hellish environment for a secretary of state", said one State Department official on condition of anonymity. Trump also once tweeted that Tillerson was "wasting his time" on diplomatic efforts with North Korea.

Things change quickly at the Trump White House.

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


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