Trump says media reports of replacing Tillerson are ‘fake news’
President Donald Trump addressed multiple media reports that he would soon fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the coming weeks and replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
In a tweet on Friday, the president called the reports “fake news” and said Tillerson would not be leaving.
The tweet came shortly after Trump, Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis sat down for lunch on Friday.
The reports began surfacing in major media outlets, including The Associated Press and the New York Times on Monday. Vanity Fair also wrote that Tillerson could be out in late January.
U.S. officials and individuals familiar with White House plans spoke about the possibility of a broad shakeup in Trump’s national security team this week.
The former director of ExxonMobil has had a shaky relationship with the president, but as recently as October, Tillerson said that he had no plans to leave his post.
That was the same time the 65-year-old former businessman denied news that he called the president a “moron” after a July meeting with national security advisers.
Tillerson and Trump have disagreed on policy issues, personnel, the president’s tweeting, according to Politico.
During his time in charge of the country’s foreign policy, the department has shrunk through retirements, resignations and layoffs.
Pompeo has been on the job since January. Vanity Fair wrote that he had surpassed Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, as the preferred choice in White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s proposal.
The dominoes would continue to fall, possibly pulling Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) into the CIA director’s chair.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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